A Houston woman is working to get back to the States after spending two months detianed in Dubai reportedly for raising her voice.
It all started in April when 29-year-old Tierra Young Allen, a truck driver and TikTok influencer, went on vacation to Dubai. After an accident in her friend’s rental car, authorities impounded the car, and her belongings were taken by the rental car company. Neither Allen nor her friend were hurt.
When Allen stopped by the business to retrieve items like her ID and credit card, an agent told her she had to pay an undisclosed fee to reclaim them.
Allen’s mother, Tina Baxter, told local news outlets that the encounter escalated after the agent got aggressive and started yelling at her daughter. Allen began yelling back at him and was subsequently arrested. In Dubai, screaming and yelling in public is illegal and especially prohibited for women. Allen was charged in connection with this crime and could face jail time, fines, or deportation if convicted.
“It’s been very emotional. There are some days I stay up all night crying,” Allen’s mother told Fox26Houston while choking back tears. “The longer she’s been there, the more reality has started to kick in.”
Activist and leader of the New Black Panther Nation in Houston Quanell X has brought attention to Allen’s case, citing the different customs in Dubai that account for the difference in treatment between men and women, some of which he says are unfair.
“They have a strict law system that is really based on theocracy. She is in jail for one reason and one reason alone, she raised her voice. In that country, a female is not even allowed to raise her voice. If she raises her voice it’s punishable by jail time,” Quanell explained. “In our opinion, she did not commit a crime. Don’t punish women for doing the same thing a man can do in Dubai. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.”
Allen has secured an attorney and has been told that surveillance video shows her screaming at the rental car agent which could further complicate her case.
Quanell has contacted the U.S. and UAE embassies on behalf of Allen. An organization that helps those facing legal issues in Dubai is also providing assistance. The group’s CEO, Radha Stirling, says it’s common for rental car agencies in Dubai to attempt to extort cash settlements from “wealthy foreigners,” which reflects Allen’s case.
Allen’s passport has been confiscated for the time being, and she’s also banned from travel. Her family hopes the U.S. government will intervene and work to get her home safely.