Britons alleging UAE abuse showed no sign of mistreatment - police

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A police officer told a court in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday that three Britons who allege they were tortured after their arrest on drug charges exhibited no injuries or signs of mistreatment.

Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerh were taken into custody in July 2012 during a holiday in the UAE after police said they found a form of synthetic cannabis in their hire car.

They say that police subjected them to beatings and threatened them with guns, according to Reprieve, a London-based legal charity which campaigns for prisoner rights.

All three have pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of illegal drugs at a trial at the Dubai Criminal Courts.

At a hearing on Thursday, policeman Osman Ali Abdulla, who took part in the arrest, denied that any of the men were abused or beaten and said they were treated well.

Responding to questions from Issa bin-Haider, a lawyer representing Jeerh, Abdulla said the men showed no form of injury following their arrest. All three men were present in court on Thursday and appeared to be in good health.

Abdulla added that two of the three were provided with medication for pre-existing ailments.

"While the men were being questioned we found out that Suneet had asthma and needed an inhaler, so we provided him with one and a second accused had low sugar level and we also provided him with aid for that," he told the court.

There is zero tolerance for drug-related offences in the United Arab Emirates, a regional business hub and tourist destination where millions of expatriates live and work. There are severe penalties for drug trafficking and possession.

Reprieve has said that following the alleged mistreatment of the men, the three were pressured to sign documents in Arabic, a language they did not understand.

The court session was adjourned to April 8, when more witnesses will be questioned.

Last year, a British citizen and a Syrian were sentenced to death by a UAE court after they were convicted of selling drugs to an undercover policeman. This month the sentences were commuted to four years in prison.

Executions are rare in the UAE, which maintains that its judiciary is independent.

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Posted by: Indian in UAE

I am a UAE resident
The laws here are strict when it comes to drug possession and dealing.
However, Dubai Police are very well know for being polite, I do not think Dubai police would have mistreated or tortured the accused, It is not Dubai police style! :-) . In fact, I myself have had few interactions with the police, they are the one of the nicest policemen i have seen. They may have been a bit harsh. But who were the police handling? Royalty? no!! criminals accused of drug possession, how do you expect police to treat the accused? treat them as if they were in 5 star hotel??
It says in the above article that the accused were even treated for pre-existing ailments . I being a UAE resident can blindly believe that the officer in-charge would have done his best for the care of the accused.

Posted by: Dr Ala Aldin Farhan Al-Ani

To Indian in UAE,
When the police arrest a person ,they are called suspects and not criminals until they appear in court and get convicted.
Every suspect has the right to be treated fairly and confessions are not admissable if they are taken under duress or mistreatment like what the suspects (now convicted by Dubai court) alleged .Cofessions taken under such circumstances will not be admissable in court of law.
Regarding UAE(Dubai Police force) ,their reputations are clean and not in doubt but we can not be sure 100% that the suspects were not telling the truth as in every profession there are few who behaves unprofessionally and this apply to any police force in the world.
Dubai and UAE in general is moving fast to apply human rights within its own legal system to match the rest of developed world.
I believe that in this case the Police in Dubai need to revise its Forensic Health care services and appoint independent Forensic Medical Examiners to guide them on good practices

Posted by: Dr Ala Aldin Farhan Al-Ani/ Forensic Medical Examiner

I applaude UAE laws of zero tolerence to illicit drug's dealings and harsh sentence is needed to stop this destructive trend of many societies that is taking place in many cities in Europe and beyond.However this case maybe different and the issue here where is the Forensic Medical Examiners,why they were not involved in this to examine these suspects for maltreatment and other medical conditions which are mentioned of two of the suspects.
The Forensic Doctors need to guide the authority on the best practices and how to to deal with these situations when it arises BUT it is obviously the Forensic Health care servicedoes not appear up to the scratch.the police in UAE needs to upgrade their forensic Health care to the modern practices.
I know UAE very well and always heard of good mannered and trained police force there.It is clear that they need to revamp their Forensic Health care services .

Posted by: Red Snappa

As I understand it, according to their human rights representative Reprieve, these three say that they have been well treated by the regular police, but that they were tortured into signing admissions in Arabic only which they didn't understand, when they were taken out into a desert location by the CID.

Nobody in the UAE investigation or not is going to admit to police torture of tourists, UK or otherwise who are awaiting a fair trial, it's extremely bad for business. However, that said, the actual case in itself is bad for inbound European tourism.

I would be highly surprised if these people turned out to be dealers in what is known as 'Spice' that is for certain, as for possession, well they were driving a hire car. So it all sounds somewhat dubious.

Posted by: Red Snappa

Greetings Telcoguy

In general your comment about visibility in Europe is accurate, specific country media tend to only pick up on these stories should they relate to their own citizens.

In this instance there are slightly over a quarter of a million results on google and there were ten times that number when the story first broke.

A large number of British publications, I'll grant you, but significant coverage in America, Australia, Russia and global travel sites in and among. There again, I could be wrong on the tourism deterrent effect, but I would say applicable to certain younger society single gender groups, unmarried and married couples, probably not those with families.

Posted by: Abdul hafeez Sheikh

ANY body dealing in drugs should have death sentence because he is responsible for the death of many people

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