2014, Society  -  49 min Leave a Comment
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The glamorous lure of Dubai turns sour for an Australian couple when the downfall of the area's once booming real estate industry leads to the persecution of an innocent man wrongfully charged for alleged property fraud.

In 2006 accountant Marcus Lee accepted a job in Dubai with a large real estate development firm. He and his wife, Julie, relocated to the United Arab Emirates, building a new life in a seemingly vibrant and promising young city. However, in interviews with the Lees we learn that three years into their relocation, and while Julie was away on vacation, Marcus was approached by police and hauled off to jail without explanation.

For the first two months of his imprisonment Marcus was kept in solitary confinement, and subsequently shuttled between other area prisons - some so overcrowded he had to share a bed with his cellmate - before formal charges were brought against him for a crime he didn't commit. During his time in prison Lee suffered numerous health problems, including pneumonia. As his physical health deteriorated it was the support of his wife and her taking the risk to smuggle him medication that kept him alive.

When Marcus' imprisonment comes to an end, however, the ordeal is hardly over. Released on $300,000 bail, a sum that was devastating to the Lees' savings. Placed under house arrest and forced to surrender both his and Julie's passports, Marcus was still very much a prisoner of Dubai.

We discover that Australian company Sunland was responsible for the accusations against Marcus, and how they pitted their cutthroat lawyer against him in court. Marcus' appeals were often futile, with inconsistencies in Judges and weeks, even months, passing between hearings. Broke and isolated from their families, the dream the Lees had been chasing had devolved into a seemingly never-ending nightmare.

Trapped allows the Lees to tell their story after years of fearing that any criticism of the system that abused them would only result in further punishment. The emotional retelling of their torturous journey exposes Dubai's deeply corrupted legal system where transgressions as simple as bounced checks can land you in prison alongside serial killers.