South Florida man to host fundraiser after spending months detained in Middle East

COCONUT GROVE, FLA. (WSVN) - - A Coconut Grove man has finally returned home after being jailed for months in the Middle East and is hosting a benefit concert to pay for his legal fees.

Matthew Gonzales is back home with his sister but said he’s still haunted by his experience in an Abu Dhabi prison cell.

“The last few days have been pretty rough. Nightmares come and go,” he said.

His sister, Nicole Denil, flew back and forth from Abu Dhabi while hiring lawyers and getting help from lawmakers to free her brother.

“I had to got back many times to try to negotiate with the lawyers. We had to pay more than a $100,000 with that and just trips back and forth,” she said.

Her efforts secured his release.

7News was at the airport in Chicago in June during the tearful reunion between siblings.

“I’ll be forever grateful. She’s the best person ever,” said Gonzales.

The family is raising money to pay for the numerous flights and legal fees with a welcome home concert, Sunday, Aug. 13.

The concert is set to start at 4 p.m. at the Palmeiras Beach Club in Coconut Grove where Gonzales will play some of his own music.

Gonzales was sent to Abu Dhabi by his Coral Springs company to do wiring work on a cruise ship.

He was arrested at the airport for entering the country with prescription pain pills. He was then jailed for two months.

“Just a pile of concrete. There are no chairs. There’s no benches. There’s no tables, just the floor, just concrete. That’s what you sleep on,” he said.

Gonzales said he is hoping to put the whole ordeal behind him while still working for his company. In turn, the company has opted to send him to Europe instead of the Middle East.

For more information on the benefit concert click here.

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