Rory Sutherland, vice president of the Ogilvy Group and former president of the IPA, has returned home to the UK after spending 24 hours in a prison in Qatar after smoking an electronic cigarette on a plane. The internationally respected marketer and raconteur was detained over the weekend and tweeted about the experience afterwards.
I'm at Doha International Airport (DOH) مطار الدوحة الدولي (Doha, Ad Dawhah) w/ 23 others http://t.co/P9LiESKb5L— Rory Sutherland (@rorysutherland) January 26, 2014
Well, 24 hours in a Qatari jail. That was unexpected.— Rory Sutherland (@rorysutherland) January 26, 2014
Sutherland arrived home to the UK this morning (Monday 27 January) when, in a surprisingly jovial mood, he explained what happened to The Drum.He said: “I was watching an episode of Silent Witness, when without thinking I put an electronic cigarette in my mouth. I wasn’t even thinking consciously and I hadn’t seen the instructions stating: ‘Do not smoke electronic cigarettes.’ I was sitting in a seat where you couldn’t see the safety announcement. "So I ended up being detained at the airport where I was repeatedly told that it would take 10 minutes to sort out the problem upon landing, but in order to have my case dealt with, I was effectively imprisoned for 24 hours."He continued by quoting Thomas Wolfe - “a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged and a liberal is a conservative that has been arrested” - and added that following the experience he was willing to accept letters from any charity dealing with overseas prisoners and British asylum seekers under detention, to which he would “give them an enormous amount of cash".Sutherland described the justice system as ‘Kafkaesque’ and explained: "It’s a system of justice where everything has to go through four different departments, so you are sentenced by one person, you pay the fine to another department and you are then transferred to another department. So what should have been a spot fine and an on your way turned into this Kafkaesque nightmare."He also revealed he did plan to pay the subsequent fine.
@JamesLafferty vaped briefly on a plane exacerbated by kafkaesque administrative nightmare. Like Midnight Express in miniature.— Rory Sutherland (@rorysutherland) January 26, 2014