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Sat 16 Jun 2012 06:55 PM

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Jailed British developer suspends hunger strike

Safi Qurashi postpones protest in Dubai jail after claims his case is to be reviewed

Jailed British developer suspends hunger strike
Qurashi was sentenced to seven years in jail for bouncing a cheque.

British businessman Safi Qurashi, who is serving a seven-year jail sentence in Dubai for bouncing cheques has suspended his hunger strike until the end of the month, his wife said in a statement on Saturday.

The suspension comes after she claimed that his case has been referred back to the cassation courts by Essam Al Humaidan, Dubai’s Attorney General, to be reviewed.

There was no official statement confirming this from the Attorney General prior to publication.

His wife Huma said: “Safi has agreed to suspend his hunger strike till the end of the month. He wasn’t willing to do so at first as he had promised his next meal will be with his children.

"But I reassured him that this is a significant step forward and could see him released very soon once the Cassation Judges review the cases.

"I told him that I felt the Attorney General was very sympathetic after reviewing all the documents. We really hope that the cassation court judges will identify with the facts of the case that prove my husband’s cheques were misused by his complainers."

Qurashi was sentenced to seven years in jail for bouncing a cheque and was over 40 days into a hunger strike.

His daughters, 13-year old Sara and 10-year old Maaria, started an online campaign called ‘Justice For My Dad’ and have been lobbying for his release.

The developer rose to fame as the owner of the 4.5-hectare island that is part of The World, a man-made archipelago of reclaimed sandbanks located off the coast of Dubai.

He had initially planned to build a mix of hotels, residential and commercial buildings on Great Britain, but the scheme stalled in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Qurashi's wife added: "Safi looked very weak and tired but there is a sense of relief in knowing that this nightmare will come to an end soon.

"Our lawyers intend to apply for bail immediately whilst the cases are reviewed and we hope that this time it will be accepted.”

Qurashi has always maintained his innocence stating that he owes no money and his cheques should have been returned to him.

According to Justiceformydad.com, Qurashi had acted as a “middle-man” in a number of deals that saw clients transfer money into his company in exchange for his purchasing land on their behalf.

In exchange for the money, Qurashi signed security cheques over to the client that should have been returned on completion of the land deal, the website claims. Instead, the cheques were cashed, leading to Qurashi’s arrest and imprisonment for cheque fraud.

He was later found guilty of signing two cheques with insufficient funds and cancelling another.

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David 8 years ago

I am always intrigued by people who see two sets of rules, ie one for themselves and another for the rest of us. I have no knowledge of the circumstances of this particular case but the man was convicted in the presence of his defense counsel. Every business transaction has an element of calculated risk and his calculations should have encompassed default. Naïveté and greed are in no way a valid defense........

mike 8 years ago

I wonder if they put people in jail, how they can pay back . they destroy their life, family, business and evefry thing against what ? just put him in jail. I know personally people in usa during the crisis end up with millions of dollars lost but banks never create problems for them . they sit with them along with bank advisors and gave them many options where at the end , bank start getting part of their money and the borrower continue his life and his family beside him. while here even for small amount any bank will jump as a lion and treat the borroweer as a thief and ban him fro leaving the country and put him in jail and so on. even all thes ebanks have insurance on their money and will never ever loose any thing.

nice 8 years ago

The system in Dubai relating to cheques is broken. The problem is simple, there are so many transactions which require security cheques, but actually to write such a cheque if you don't have the relevant funds is illegal. For many people they cannot undertake daily transacting without having to do it - I think I had to write 30 odd cheques for my car loan - they knew i dont have the money but its so they can get me in jail if i dont pay. The banks require it, and they are effectively asking you to do something illegal - as writing the cheque if you dont have the money is illegal. This is the accepted practice, and the banks and others using this practice rely on the sanction of police custody and jail to ensure payment. However, the problem is that if they upheld the law and outlaw this dated practice, and did not allow the taking / encashing of security cheques, then many debtors would walk away as the the courts system is not quick enough and does not allow cost recover.

Brian deane 8 years ago

This laws needs reviewing you see people getting less jail for reckless driving and consequently causing a death. What about his own country ( he certainly isn't English ) what are they doing to help .