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NYC College Student Freed From Dubai Days After One Year Sentence For “Assaulting and Insulting” A Female Airport Employee

NYC College Student Freed From Dubai Days After One Year Sentence For “Assaulting and Insulting” A Female Airport Employee

“Elizabeth boarded her flight home to New York late Tuesday night”

This whole thing is just weird.

The New York Post reports:

The New York City college student who was sentenced to a year in prison for touching a Dubai airport security guard’s arm has been freed after a “hellish 5 months” and is heading back home.

Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos, a Lehman College student, is “ecstatic to be returning to the US after five months of anguish,” the advocacy group Detained in Dubai said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old’s sentence was commuted a day after she was ordered to be jailed for the July incident in which she was accused of “assaulting and insulting” a female airport employee.

“Elizabeth boarded her flight home to New York late Tuesday night,” Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling said in the release. “The news that her sentence would be commuted was a welcome end to Elizabeth’s hellish 5 months in Dubai that left her humiliated, traumatized, and out of pocket $50,000.”

. . . . She was brought back to a private screening room with plainclothed women who removed the compression suit but were “rough, hurting her swollen wounds as they removed the compressor,” Los Santos’ mother told Detained in Dubai.

. . . . Los Santos then requested assistance to put the complex garment back on, but the women only laughed at her and caused her to become even more uncomfortable.

Los Santos leaned over to ask her friend to come help put it on, but while she was doing so, she made contact with one of the female workers.

“I gently touched her arm to guide her out of the way then desperately started crying to my friend for help,” Los Santos said, according to the agency.

Officers detained Los Santos for hours while the female worker wrote a complaint against the American before forms written in Arabic were brought in for the 21-year-old to sign.


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Morning Sunshine | October 4, 2023 at 1:47 pm

I still think there is more to this story.

entitled young American “lightly taps” a security guard on the arm?
I do not believe that. This generation is used to getting what they want, when they want, and are just fine with whatever physical force is necessary to get it.

Do I think the sentence was a bit much? oh yeah.
Do I think that the situation is otherwise as she describes it (medical device difficult to put on, trauma of being strip searched, etc)? oh yeah
Do I think that the Dubai security was possibly worried about drug smuggling? oh yeah

I just do not think she was as innocent in the altercation as she claims.

Good Morning Sunshine,
You betchum!
I agree with everything save “…the sentence was a bit much?”
Knowing a little bit about Dubai and its comparatively relaxed views of social conduct (compared to the adjacent Trucial States), I, too, have questions about the statements she’s made.

Prickly Brittany Griner /
Wasn’t this much of a whiner /
Admitted her crime /
Bided her time /
Until she was freed by a weiner.

So she was recovering from plastic surgery(?) Boob job and lipo? Why was she traveling FFS? If she had sensitive “swollen wounds”?

“Elizabeth recounted a “painful and degrading search” conducted by airport security, where she was instructed to remove a medically necessary compressor that she had received after surgery.

This device encircled her upper chest and waist, making the process deeply uncomfortable and fear-inducing, as reported by Detained in Dubai.”

    venril in reply to venril. | October 5, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    Huh. Maybe.

    “Turkey has become a hotspot for medical tourism in recent years, attracting nearly 600,000 people for health services in the first half of 2022, according to the website of USHAŞ, a Turkish state owned healthcare company. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery ranks Turkey among the top ten countries performing the most popular aesthetic surgeries, including breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck procedures, liposuction and rhinoplasty. Turkey also ranks fifth for the total number of aesthetic procedures carried out in 2020, at just short of 950,000.

    But the country has also started to garner a bad reputation: Earlier this year, the British government updated its travel advice to say they were aware of 20 British nationals who had died following medical visits to Turkey since January 2019. The medical tourism industry is not internationally regulated, so there is little comparative data available on the rates of post-procedure complications in different countries.”

    Milhouse in reply to venril. | October 6, 2023 at 2:30 am

    The article says back surgery. And whatever it was, it did not take place in Turkey, at least according to the article, which says Turkey was where she and her friend went on vacation after the surgery.

stella dallas | October 6, 2023 at 11:54 am

So she claims she went on vacation in Turkey *after* having surgery. Really? I take with a grain of salt everything she said and everything the airport person claimed.