Arrested British plane spotters to be moved to Abu Dhabi for questioning

Legal advocates are expected to soon visit the men, who have been in prison since Feb 22 over national security fears
Arrested British plane spotters to be moved to Abu Dhabi for questioning
Image for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 05 Mar 2015 11:49 AM

Three British plane spotters arrested in the UAE over national security fears are to be moved to Abu Dhabi “either this week or next” for further questioning.

Legal advocates appointed by UAE advice charity Detained in Dubai are also expected to soon visit the men, who have reportedly been held in a prison in Fujairah since February 22.

Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai said in a statement on Wednesday night: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) UK have advised that authorities in the UAE said they would move the men to Abu Dhabi “either this week or next”, confirming that they will clearly be detained for longer.”

UAE expat Neil Munro, along with Conrad Clitheroe, 54, and Gary Cooper, 45 - both from Greater Manchester – were reportedly taking notes near Fujairah Airport, which is known for older and rarer aircraft.

The men, who were reportedly using telescopes, attracted suspicion and were taken to a police station for questioning. They have been detained since February 22, according to the FCO.

Stirling said: “The families of Conrad and Glen have been heavily campaigning for the Manchester residents’ release.

“The three men have been held in detention for almost two weeks now, after being arrested for partaking in the lawful act of aircraft viewing or ‘plane spotting’.

“The gentlemen did not take any photographs, being aware of the regulations, but have still been treated as though they are international spies.

“We have been in close contact with the families throughout this ordeal and are doing everything possible to secure the release of these three men.”

Detained in Dubai has arranged for advocate Nasser Hashem to represent Conrad and Glen.

Stirling said: “He will be visiting the men this afternoon in prison and we expect that his intervention will expedite the release of the men.”

Hashem is quoted in Detained in Dubai’s press release as saying he will do “everything to ensure that the civil rights of these men are not violated and they are released promptly”.

Last January, three Dutch men were arrested for the same reason and in the same location, and were held for 54 days before being released in March 2014, Detained in Dubai added.

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