UAE denies British man beaten by police, says injuries self-inflicted

Dual Sudanese-British citizen charged with wasting police time and making false statements
UAE denies British man beaten by police, says injuries self-inflicted
The British man attended the Qatar vs Iraq match on January 22 in Sharjah. Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images
By Staff writer
Wed 06 Feb 2019 09:55 AM

The UAE Embassy in the UK has strongly denied reports that a British citizen was arrested last month for wearing a Qatar football shirt during the Asian Cup tournament.

UK newspaper The Guardian reported that Ali Essa Ahmad, a dual Sudanese-British citizen, was beaten up and subsequently arrested at the Qatar vs Iraq match on January 22 for wearing a Qatar football shirt.

In a statement posted on its Twitter account, however, the UAE Embassy in the UK said Ahmad “was categorically not arrested for wearing a Qatar football shirt”, but was instead detained and charged with wasting police time and making false statements.

Outlining the events that led to Ahmad’s arrest, the UAE Embassy said: “We understand from the authorities in Sharjah emirate that Mr Ali Essa Ahmad, a dual Sudanese-British citizen, presented himself to the police station there in January claiming he had been harassed and beaten up by UAE National Football fans for cheering the Qatar team at the AFC Club tournament.

“The police took him to hospital where a doctor who examined him, concluded that his injuries were inconsistent with his account of events and appeared to be self-inflicted.”

The embassy said Ahmad was charged with wasting police time and making false statements.

“We are advised that he has since admitted those offences and will now be processed through the UAE courts,” the embassy said.

“We are in touch with the UK embassy [in the UAE] and due process has been followed. Mr Ahmad speaks Arabic and fully understands the situation he has put himself in. He was categorically not arrested for wearing a Qatar football shirt. This is instead an instance of a person seeking media attention and wasting police time."

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said, when asked about the case, said, "We are providing assistance to a British man arrested in the UAE, and are in touch with the local authorities."

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