The story of a mother and daughter who were detained at Dubai Airport on alleged drink charges caused outrage over the weekend.

The Sun newspaper reported on Thursday that the "British mum-of three" Ellie Holman had been locked up after "drinking a single glass of wine on an Emirates flight from Gatwick."

However, it seems the drink-related charge was not a central factor in the Dubai International Airport fiasco that resulted in Ms Holman's arrest.

After building outrage at the treatment of Ms Holman and her family, The Attorney-General of Dubai released a statement on the case at the weekend.


Ellie Holman, though living in Sevenoaks in the UK, is a "Swedish national who attempted to enter the UAE on an expired passport," the statement read.

When she arrived in Dubai on July 13, it was discovered that her Swedish passport on which she had been travelling, had expired on June 10, 2018.

She was, however, able to produce an in-date Iranian passport.

The process of entering the UAE on an Iranian passport is more difficult than countries that enjoy visa waiver programme, such as Sweden and New Zealand.

Iran's relations to the UAE are less hospitable and have stricter visa requirements. It was possible for her to enter the country but only on a temporary 96-hour visa, requiring processing fees and an immediate change to her departure plans.

Holman's four-year-old daughter, Bibi, who was was also detained at Dubai International Airport. Photo / Supplied
Holman's four-year-old daughter, Bibi, who was was also detained at Dubai International Airport. Photo / Supplied

"Ms. Hollman [sic] refused angrily due to the additional payment fees the process would require, and proceeded to verbally insult the immigration officer and take photos of the officer via her phone," read the Attorney-General's statement.

The statement made no mention of the drink-related charges but instead said that Holman was detained for "photographing a government official at a border crossing, a restricted area".

In the initial reports she was questioned by an airport official over "whether she had been drinking" on the Emirates flight when she "began filming him for evidence".

"The frightened pair were then led to an airport cell and had their phones and passports confiscated before being taken to a police station." The number of passports and issuing nationality had not been disclosed in the initial news reports.

"The woman and her child remained together in the airport security office for less than 24 hours while services were provided to them, taking into full account and consideration of her 4-year-old daughter," read the Attorney-General's report.

Holman's partner flew to Dubai and was allowed to return home with their daughter, as the family waited on a verdict.

Following these events the prosecution has decided to drop charges against Ms Holman and deport her back to the United Kingdom.

"I can't believe this is over. When I got the call from the government telling me they were dropping the case I was in shock," she said.

The family were reunited at Gatwick Airport on Sunday, and returned to their home in Kent.