Jonathan Castle

Jonathan's nightmare began when he accepted a number of credit cards from Emirates Bank and got caught up in the "Dubai lifestyle".

Jonathan - who was born in London but raised in Thurso, near Caithness - fell behind with payments and the unpleasant side of the Dubai loan business began to invade his life.

Debt collectors and heavies began to bombard him with calls, turned up at his work and even told his wife to become a prostitute to help pay up.

CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International, Radha Stirling, says Jonathan's situation is tragic, but not unusual. “The practice of requiring post-dated security cheques is officially not allowed in the UAE, but no long-term financial transactions occur without it. This is a recipe for disaster for account holders; those to whom the cheques are written can opt to cash them at any time, almost certainly guaranteeing that it will bounce, and the writer of the cheque will be charged with a crime. Once they are charged, they become immediately incapable of paying whatever amount is demanded, their passports are confiscated, visas often expire or are cancelled, and they cannot work. Cases like these easily account for the majority of inmates in UAE jails at any given time. Jonathan Castle, another British citizen, suffered a similar dilemma”

Radha Stirling, CEO of UK based NGO Detained in Dubai, said: “UAE banking laws are in desperate need of modernisation.

"The fact that the bank knows the debtor cannot pay from inside jail and yet will keep him there indefinitely until a relative bails them out means that the bank is effectively taking the debtor hostage.

"The fact that a debtor can not get a new job because of the police case is also an obvious legal strategy to force them into jail. Such punitive measures clearly do not facilitate debt recovery."