British grandfather faces notorious Dubai prison for asking neighbours to lower music during party

​Ian MacKeller

Ian MacKeller is now facing years in a UAE prison

Detained in Dubai
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 23/01/2024

- 18:08

Ian MacKeller is now stranded in the UAE after visiting his family over the festive period

A British grandad is facing jail time in a notorious Dubai prison after he asked his partying neighbours to keep the noise down whilst he was babysitting his granddaughter.

Ian MacKeller, 75, from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, had travelled to the UAE to visit his daughter during the Christmas period.

He made a noise complaint on New Year’s Eve after his daughter’s neighbours hosted a loud party into the early hours of the morning.

However, the family claimed that the music only proceeded to get louder.

Ian \u200bMacKeller

MacKeller travelled to Dubai to visit his daughter and granddaughter

Detained in Dubai

He decided to visit the property to ask them to keep the noise down again, however, soon became involved in an altercation, with party guests “pushing, shouting and filming him”.

The host allegedly followed MacKeller out onto the street, where she berated him and threw her drink over the 75-year-old and his grandchild.

His daughter begged him not to report the behaviour to the police, afraid it would cause even more issues with her neighbours.

Mackeller headed her warning but was later stunned when the hosts proceeded to file a police report against him instead, accusing him of trespassing.


Due to the police complaint, the 75-year-old cannot attempt to leave the country, or else he could be locked up for years.

If he attempts to leave the country, he could be locked up for years.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, is attempting to set MacKeller free.

She said: “It is standard practice in Dubai to pre-emptively file a police report when at risk of being reported. The prosecution tends to side with whomever makes the first police report, so if someone is at risk of being reported themselves, they will quickly file against the actual victim.

“This is how people familiar with Dubai justice manipulate the system to their advantage.

“It is commonplace for foreigners in this situation to offer financial compensation to their accuser in order to drop the case."


Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said locals often manipulate the justice system to their advantage


Stirling added: “Authorities in Dubai need to crack down on this blatant abuse of the criminal justice system. The practice is systemic and will require significant legislative change to stamp it out completely.

“It's imperative that parliamentary representatives support their constituents where they face injustice. We're seeing more and more MPs demanding action from the FCDO and foreign ministry counterparts in countries like the UAE, Qatar and Saudi.”

Stirling, who has contacted Ian’s MP, Andrew Bowie, for assistance, added: "This is a very sad situation. Nobody would ever imagine that a polite request to turn the music down would result in a travel ban and criminal prosecution."

The 75-year-old was due to fly home on January 10 but he now must remain in the UAE until the situation is resolved.

“Again and again, we are reminded that a simple trip to Dubai can indeed be a one-way ticket,” Stirling said.

“If the case isn’t dropped, Ian will likely end up in prisons notorious for human rights violations, and he simply doesn’t deserve it.”

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