Music, Politics

Grooverider Goes to Jail!

I know word has spread fast on this one, but for those of you who’ve not heard yet, Jungle / Drum & Bass legend (and BBC host / Prototype records owner-founder) Grooverider was sentenced to a four-year prison term yesterday in the United Arab Emirates. Apparently he had a gig in Dubai, and he got caught bringing a spliff through airport security (he also had some porno DVDs with him, which are illegal in Dubai as well—this aspect of the story has gone curiously underreported). Despite being a fancy international tourist hot-spot, Dubai’s got a super-strict fundamentalist Islam-inspired penal code, and Mr. Rider ended up getting a 4 year sentence for 2.16g of weed. YIKES! He’s still got 2 weeks to appeal, but it’s looking unlikely that he’ll be spared. Consider the following examples of UAE legal proceedings:

Another British tourist (this one a Rastafarian) was arrested in Dubai this year after police used some crazy sci-fi super-sensitive screening device and found 0.003g of marijuana in the tread of his shoe. According to the BBC, 0.003g is “an amount that is invisible to the naked eye and weighs less than a grain of sugar.”

Yet another traveling Brit brought MELATONIN (you know, the completely legal, over-the-counter sleep aid—which is ALSO legal in Dubai) with him through the airport: he was detained while his bags were tested for drugs, and forced to sign a confession statement in Arabic without a translator.

Perhaps worst of all: some poor schmuck from Switzerland was traveling to UAE from London’s Heathrow airport, and while at Heathrow he ate some sort of poppy-seed coated bread roll. Police in Dubai found THREE POPPY SEEDS on his clothing, and he is now serving a four year sentence for OPIATE SMUGGLING.

Finally there’s Canadian citizen Bert Tatham, a UN anti-narcotics adviser to Afghanistan, who brought two poppy seeds back home with him as a symbol of his achievements limiting the opium trade. These two poppies were found by customs during his layover in Dubai, and he ended up with a four year sentence. He ended up getting a pardon, but only after some serious leveraging from UN, the Canadian embassy, and Afghanistan (as well as a large-scale letter-writing campaign). The fact that this is what it takes to get somebody pardoned for such trivial charges makes me pretty pessimistic about Grooverider’s hopes of getting out early.

It’s enough to make somebody dead-set against ever traveling to Dubai…

BBC link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7253514.stm

13 thoughts on “Grooverider Goes to Jail!

  1. This is all pretty terrifying stuff! I have to change planes in Dubai on my way to Asia soon and wil literally be hoovering out my bag/wallet/pockets etc. to ensure this doesn’t happen!

  2. Why the hell would someone want to go to Dubai it sounds like a shit hole where fun is illegal!

    Have you got a permit for that fun your having No? $ years jail buddy!

  3. Great way to promote tourism in Dubai.

    Realy hope things work out for Grooverider esquire; but:

    “Apparently he had a gig in Dubai, and he got caught bringing a spliff through airport security…
    …and Mr. Rider ended up getting a 4 year sentence for 2.16g of weed”

    holy shit that boy packs his joints.

  4. Fuk!!! I just heard the news and think that is ALMOST unbelievable, yet coming from a country that has not learned to quit having religious arguments I would just have to stand by my original comment of, Fuk!!! ………..
    Damn, I think I need a moment of silence while I roll this one up, pop in this live set and set blaze to that bullshit law! Stateside style.

    “Rudeboy” / Ant-1
    Original Junglist,
    Minneapolis,MN.
    Since 1992

    http://urbanphoto.phanfare.com

  5. I simply cannot get the fact that someone looses his freedom just because he has some drugs on him, for his own use. does he hurt anyone with using drugs? whats next? someone getting arrested for wearing clothes the governement doesn’t like?

    Big up Grooverider, love your work!

  6. There’s a Free Grooverider Petition:

    http://www.PetitionOnline.com/gr00v3/petition.html

    Almost 10,000 signatures already.

    “To: Government of Dubai
    Mr. Raymond Bingham, the celebrity Disk Jockey commonly known as “Grooverider” has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates by the possession of a small amount of the drug Cannabis and Dvd’s of pornography. This country is well known for its high economic development, but has also been starting to be questioned not about its social and cultural values but about the procedures used in order to enforce them…”

  7. What’s it going to take for this type of insanity to be a thing of the past, like prohibition?

    I wish I knew.

    It’s so frustrating that there’s nothing we can do to help Grooverider, or the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people languishing in US prisons for victimless crimes.

    Poor Grooverider.

  8. WELL IM AN AVID DRUM AND BASS HEAD AND HAVE GOT NO BEEF WITH THE MAN RIDER AS I HAIL HIS SILVER BLADE REMIX A CLASSIC TRACK FROM A CLASSIC INNOVATOR. BUT THE LAW IS THE LAW AND THE GUYS BEEN BREAKIN THE LAW IN THIS COUNTRY IN NIGHTCLUBS ON DNB TV!WHILST CAMERAS ROLLIN ON HIM!HES PUFFIN THE WEED WHILST DJIN COUNTLESS TIMES.NOT VERY DISCREET IS HE!IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF TIME.WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.

  9. Man, I really feel for him. But people have to understand that the world is a big place and yeah, it’s ok to have a little weed in your baggage because nothing will happen to you in England, just check the laws of whatever country you visit. I am super paranoid when travelling.

    What is worse is the guy arrested over poppy seeds. This enough to make you want to travel naked without eating shit if you are passing thru Dubai… then again you may be arrested for being naked so don’t try it.

    Just remember, when travelling, you are no longer home so be extra damned careful. My thought are with you Groove

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