Tourist fined Dh10,000 and deported for 'filming Abu Dhabi airport security'

Joseph Lee was travelling with his son when he was arrested at Abu Dhabi International Airport

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A tourist who was arrested for allegedly using his mobile phone while going through security at Abu Dhabi International Airport was fined Dh10,000 and will be deported.

Joseph Lee, a 59-year-old American, who was arrested in the capital before Thanksgiving will be repatriated after paying his fine, officials said.

Mr Lee's son, Jonathan, who was travelling with his father, said Joseph was filming his mistreatment by airport officials .

“I believe he began recording because they were treating him unfairly, in a rude manner, and in Abu Dhabi that's a pretty big criminal offence and I believe that's why he was detained,” Jonathan told local news agencies.

The two were transiting in Abu Dhabi for 11 hours after returning from a holiday together in Bangkok.

Jonathan told NBC they took a quick tour of the city before returning to the airport where they were separated as his father was selected for a secondary security screening.

Jonathan said he received a phone call from his father moments later telling him he had been arrested.

He said he expected his father to be released momentarily so he boarded a plane and returned home.

Taking photographs or filming in public places is not prohibited in public places in the UAE unless explicitly stated. However, it is forbidden to film or photograph critical installations and strategic and military locations, for instance, for security reasons. Taking photographs at airport security stations is prohibited across many countries.

Jonathan and his father had planned to spend Thanksgiving at his daughter's home in Texas.

“We just want to let the UAE Government know that there is no ill intent of my father and that we just want him back home. We want him back home safe and sound,” Jonathan said.