A Houston woman was permitted to leave the United Arab Emirates and was reportedly on a flight headed back to the U.S. on Tuesday after monthsin public during an argument with a car rental company.
Social media influencer Tierra Allen, who posts online under the handle "Sassy Trucker," boarded a flight to the U.S. from the UAE after paying a fee of about $1,300 to have a travel ban lifted by authorities, according to the "Detained in Dubai" international nonprofit organization that worked to secure her return.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, announced Allen's imminent return home in a statement shared on social media, adding that the case had highlighted "the crucial role played by the media, and by the public, in demanding accountability and justice in the UAE."
"Tierra was living a nightmare and facing fines and lengthy imprisonment, until her case was brought into the spotlight of international media scrutiny. Without that attention, all too often, Emirati authorities pay little heed to due process, fairness, and human rights," Stirling said.
Allen was arrested in May following a confrontation with a male employee of a car rental company in Dubai.
"She was told at the police station (Bur Dubai) that she has been accused of 'shouting,' which under the UAE's laws is illegal under 'offensive behavior,' which is an unclear and subjective regulation, but warrants up to two years in prison, a fine and deportation," Stirling told CBS News last month.
Stirling also told CBS News the employee had been trying to intimidate Allen into paying thousands of dollars she didn't owe.
"Tierra is the latest American tourist to get caught up in what is a common rental car extortion scheme," Stirling said.
"Rental car agencies are notorious for opening criminal cases against visitors with the promise to drop the case if they are paid off. The prevalence of blackmail is damaging to the UAE's tourism and investment sectors and Dubai's government needs to crack down on this abuse of process," said Stirling, an activist and lawyer specializing in Arab nations' laws.
After being arrested and released on bail, Allen was not allowed to retrieve her belongings from the rental vehicle and later noticed that several fraudulent charges were attempted on her credit cards, which were in the back of the vehicle she had returned, according to Stirling.
The man who worked at the vehicle rental agency and initially accused Allen left the country for Pakistan after filing his police report, Stirling noted.
Allen has been told to not return to Dubai by UAE authorities, and Stirling said Allen told her she "was never thinking twice about coming back. I was so stressed every day."
Allen has not posted on her TikTok account since her detention.
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