London surgeon held in Dubai after raising hands at motorist

A prominent London surgeon has been detained in Dubai on a charge of "public indecency" after an altercation with a motorist.

Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, a consultant colorectal surgeon at King's College Hospital, London, had his passport confiscated following the incident on 26 April in which he is alleged to have made a rude gesture. He has been told he could face a prison sentence and a wait of "months" before his case is heard.

At King's, cancer patients awaiting surgery have had their operations reallocated to other surgeons. Dr Nunoo-Mensah was travelling with his wife, Alison Walker, and three children and was due to return to the UK on 1 May. Ms Walker and the children instead returned alone.

The case is the latest in which British nationals have fallen foul of the strict laws governing public behaviour in the Arab state. Last month, Lee Bradley Brown, a British tourist, died in police custody following his arrest on allegations of assault, intimidating behaviour and using abusive language to a hotel chambermaid. Last year, a British couple were sentenced to a month in jail for kissing in public.

Dr Nunoo-Mensah, who was born in Ghana and is a British national, was in the United Arab Emirates at the invitation of the US Cleveland Clinic, which is building a medical centre there. The family were driving back to Dubai after a day out, on a section of road narrowed due to roadworks where there was a 60kph speed limit, when a man in a white car came up behind them.

Dr Nunoo-Mensah said: "The man was following us flashing his lights. I was trying to abide by the speed limit and couldn't move out of his way. I pulled over when I could but instead of overtaking us, he pulled up alongside, switched the inside light on, rolled down the window and drove in parallel with us for up to a minute. He was looking at me in an intimidating way – I was quite terrified.

"I raised both my hands to say, 'What do you want?' but he pulled back [to read the number plate] and then took off and turned right. He alleges I stuck a finger at him but I raised both hands. I am sure he must have seen them at an angle, and that was offensive to him."

Dr Nunoo-Mensah was called by the police the following day and had his passport confiscated. Without it he has been unable to get a hotel room and has been sleeping on the office couch of some Ghanaian contacts – his father, General Nunoo-Mensah, is a senior minister and national security adviser to the president of Ghana.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said it would provide assistance: "The UAE laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK and we cannot interfere in another country's legal procedures, just as they cannot interfere in ours."

King's College Hospital said it was in touch with Dr Nunoo-Mensah and some appointments for non-urgent patients had been rescheduled. "Surgical cover is being put in place to ensure our cancer patients are not adversely affected. We have every intention of running a normal service for all our patients, including those with cancer."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Opilio Recruitment: Field Marketing Manage

    £25k - 40k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

    Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

    £40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas