Bill Gates, Jimmy Carter, UK Government & London Mayor Boris Johnson urged to withdraw support for Dubai event due to police torture

November 11, 2013

Image of Barbed wire

A number of high-profile supporters of Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo in 2020 are being urged to withdraw their backing due to increasing evidence of a widespread police torture problem in the Emirate.

Figures from the world of philanthropy and human rights including Bill Gates and former US President Jimmy Carter have lent their support to Dubai’s bid, along with Governments including the UK, despite reports that prisoners there frequently face physical abuse and the forced signing of documents, as well as a lack of access to legal counsel.

One such example is that of Grant Cameron, Suneet Jeerh and Karl Williams, three British tourists who were subjected to beatings and electric shocks, before being forced to sign documents in Arabic – a language they do not understand – while on holiday in Dubai last year.  The men were subsequently pardoned and released, but, despite pressure from the UK Prime Minister to do so, the UAE has failed to carry out an independent investigation into their mistreatment.

Human rights charity Reprieve has written to supporters of Dubai’s bid for the World Expo – which has its origins in London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 – urging them to reconsider their backing unless the UAE takes action on police torture.  The decision on who will host it is expected on the 27 November.

Among those supporters written to by Reprieve are:

      Bill Gates, Chair, Microsoft and Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Jimmy Carter, former US President and founder of the

Carter Center

      , an NGO which works to advance human rights William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary

Boris Johnson

    , Mayor of London Ndaba Mandela, Chairman of Africa Rising Foundation

Reprieve investigator, Kate Higham said: “UAE’s ongoing refusal to lift a finger to investigate the widespread use of torture by its own police forces makes it a deeply unsuitable candidate for any prestigious international event.  Anyone who values human rights should withhold their support for the Expo, until Dubai demonstrates that it is serious about tackling these serious violations.”


1. For further information, and copies of the letters, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 /