A UK court has denied a request by the UAE government to extradite a former expat back to Dubai to face allegations he blackmailed his estranged wife by threatening to publish naked images of her on the internet.
Born in the UK and of Pakistani origin, the request to extradite Yasir Afsar was rejected on the grounds “that he will not be afforded a fair trial and furthermore that he will be prejudiced by reason of his ethnicity.”
The UAE made the request in relation to allegations Afsar, who fled the UAE in 2006 when he ran into financial troubles, attempted to blackmail his wife, who married him in 2005 and remained in the UAE.
“It is alleged that YA made threats to his estranged wife in 2007 and 2008 to the effect that unless she sent him money he would post naked photographs of her on the internet. His wife refused to send the money that he demanded and on 3rd October 2008 her friend Ms Berera contacted her to say that she had received an email from YA with an attachment which was a naked photograph of the complainant,” court documents claimed.
Under UAE law, Afsar faced up to five years in jail and a fine of up to AED50,000 ($13,612) if he was convicted of the charges by a UAE court.
Afsar refused the extradition order, claiming “there are strong grounds for believing that, if returned, he will face a real risk of being subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” the documents added.
His legal team claimed he would not be afforded a fair trial and could face torture due to his Pakistani ethnicity.
In his ruling, District Judge MC Zani said no assurances had been given by the UAE regarding Afsar’s concerns and it had refused to allow court experts to visit UAE prisons to prepare a report on conditions.
Evidence was also submitted by the defence “from other UK nationals who have been detained in the UAE in the recent past and who recount their experiences,” the court said.
Concluding, Judge Zani said he was “entirely satisfied that Mr Afsar has amply demonstrated that in the event of his return his rights would be breached and he would suffer prejudice by reason of his ethnicity.”
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