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
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

    Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

    £8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

    Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

    Day In a Page

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border