Brits in Dubai face their torturer in court

March 14, 2013

Three British men being held in Dubai today faced their torturer in court. One of the policemen present at their arrest and torture gave evidence against them, despite the UAE authorities’ ongoing refusal to produce a report into their mistreatment.

Grant Cameron (25) and Karl Williams (25), from London and Suneet Jeerh (25), from Essex, were arrested on drugs charges in July last year. Following their arrest all three were subjected to beatings and electric shocks. All three have pled ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

Lieutenant Othman Ali, one of the arresting CID officers involved in the torture, appeared in court today as the trial got underway. Upon questioning by Mr Jeerh’s lawyer, Lieutenant Ali denied that the men had been tortured; going so far as to say that they had in fact been treated very well.

Proceedings were held entirely in Arabic, a language none of the men speak, without any translation available – which is a breach of international law. The authorities in Dubai claim to have investigated the mistreatment suffered by the men but, more than half a year on from their ordeal, have yet to produce their report.

The three men were on holiday in the UAE when they were arrested after police claimed to have found a form of synthetic cannabis in their hire car. The men were subsequently tortured, with Mr Williams suffering a broken hand and having shocks administered to his testicles using an electric baton.  Following their abuse, the men were pressured to sign documents in Arabic, a language they do not understand, and were denied access to a lawyer for over 6 months.

A report produced last week by Dr Frank Arnold, an expert on the assessment of torture wounds, found that the available medical evidence and reports from the UK Foreign Office were consistent with the treatment the men described, noting that:

“The ‘brown marks’ described on the back of Mr Jeerh’s back would be consistent with his having been subjected to electric shocks at high current density as delivered, for example, by a cattle prod.”

Reprieve is calling on the UAE Government to produce their report into the treatment of the three Britons, and to allow Dr Arnold access to the three men in order to carry out a full assessment of their injuries – a request which has so far been denied. The next trial hearing has been set for April 8th and all three men could face the death penalty if convicted.

Marc Callcutt, lawyer at Reprieve said: “Today, a police officer who should be in the dock on trial for torture was instead giving false evidence in court. These developments show how preposterous it is for this trial to continue without an independent investigation into the torture of the three men. The UAE claims to have done an investigation, yet it is being kept secret. Why? The world is watching. Will Dubai continue to try and sweep this issue under the carpet, or will they do the right thing and take action to enforce their own and international laws?”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. For more information please contact Clemency Wells or Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s Press Office, on: +44 (0) 207 553 8161 / clemency.wells@reprieve.org.uk / donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk

2. For further information about the torture to which the three men claim they were subjected please see here

3. Witness statements by the men can be seen upon request. The case page for the Dubai three is on Reprieve’s website

4. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Follow Reprieve on twitter: @ReprieveUK; if you were forwarded this release, sign up to join our press mailing list.