Portsmouth man arrested in Oman while on his way home to his ill nan

A PORTSMOUTH man is facing years in prison in Oman after ‘a verbal altercation’ in an airport while on his way home to his unwell nan.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 4:55 pm
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 8:54 pm
Undated handout photo issued by GoFundMe of Les Bragg, from Portsmouth, who has been detained in Oman. GoFundMe/PA Wire

Les Bragg was flying back to the UK from the Philippines and was catching a connecting flight at Muscat Airport on July 17 when he was arrested.

Reports from national papers suggested Les, also known as Lee, swore and alcohol was smelt on his breath.

But friends and family have said this is not the case.

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A post on the gofundme page set up by friend Laura Weston read: ‘There is no suggestion he swore or that he had been drinking heavily. It was a verbal disagreement and that is all we know but we don’t know on what grounds he was arrested.

‘We'd like to make it clear that we don't know why Les has been imprisoned. He isn't an aggressive or violent man - all we know is that he had a verbal altercation while at Oman airport. This could even mean he said a few sharp words and that was enough to get him arrested - not that he swore or was drunk.

Friends, family and strangers have donated more than £1,500 so far to help pay a £22,000 legal bill to release Les.

The 41-year-old diving instructor was travelling back to the UK to help care for his disabled mother and his nan, who is suffering from dementia.

He helped to clean up beaches and reduce plastic consumption while in the Philippines and his friends described him as ‘caring and kind’.

The post continued: ‘We're focusing on getting our lovely friend Les home - all his family and friends are worried sick about him and he needs to get back to the UK to be with his poorly mum and gran. Thank you for all your support so far - Les has been told about everyone's generosity and he's very touched.’

There is also concern for Les’ welfare where he has been detained with friends describing the conditions as ‘terrible’ and worried that he ‘hasn’t eaten in days’.

One person who donated to the cause commented: ‘I hope he gets home to see his sick Mum and I hope the British Authorities crack their heels and get him out.’

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We are supporting a British man and his family following his arrest in Oman and are in contact with the Omani authorities.’