Dubai torture claims as 3 jailed for drug offences

From left to right -  Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerh. Picture: PA
From left to right - Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerh. Picture: PA
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THREE British men have been jailed for four years each for possession of drugs in Dubai amid claims that they were tortured by police.

Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to address claims that three British men were tortured by police in Dubai when he meets the president of the United Arab Emirates tomorrow.

The state visit by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan comes amid allegations that Grant Cameron and Suneet Jeerh, both 25, and Karl Williams, 26, were tortured by police.

Mr Williams and Mr Cameron, both from Wanstead, north-east London, and Mr Jeerh, from Ilford, east London, have been jailed for four years each for possessing drugs in Dubai.

They were convicted of possessing synthetic cannabis after being arrested in July last year while on holiday. Charges that they had supplied the drug were dropped.

The men claim they signed documents in Arabic - a language none of them understands - following their arrests after they were threatened with guns to their heads. Mr Williams also reported having electric shocks administered to his testicles.

The Foreign Office has called for a full, independent and impartial inquiry into the torture allegations and has raised them with “very senior officials” in the UAE.

And Mr Cameron is expected to discuss the allegations with the sheikh tomorrow.

His spokesman today said there were “no no-go areas” for the discussions, adding: “We have asked for a full, impartial and independent investigation into the incidents.

“We have a state visit, we have an opportunity to build and strengthen relations between our two countries and as part of that we will be talking about a wide range of issues which will include concern about these cases.”

The case has been taken up by pressure group Reprieve, which campaigns on behalf of prisoners, and has called for clemency for the men, and that their torture allegations should be thoroughly investigated.

Reprieve investigator Kate Higham said: “The central fact of this case remains that these men were tortured by police, but there has been no proper investigation into their abuse.

“The only reasonable course of action for the UAE authorities now is to grant these men clemency, release them and allow them to return home to their families.

“David Cameron must push for this when UAE President Sheikh Khalifa arrives on a state visit tomorrow.

“It also remains essential that the UAE conduct an impartial investigation into these men’s torture and ensure it is never allowed to happen again.”

Reprieve is among a coalition of seven human rights organisations that have called for Mr Cameron to address the United Arab Emirates’ human rights record with the sheikh.

In a letter to the PM, the organisations - Amnesty International, Alkarama, The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Frontline, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and Reprieve, - lists allegations torture allegations against the UAE and urges the UK government to push for an independent and impartial investigation into the reports.

The letter to Mr Cameron also outlines the case of 94 people on trial in the UAE on charges that they “launched, established, and ran an organisation seeking to oppose the basic principles of the UAE system of governance and to seize power.”

It is claimed that many of the detainees were held incommunicado, with no access to their lawyers most of the time, for more than six months of pre-trial detention.

Mr Cameron’s mother Tracy today said she was positive that her son would be home by the end of the year at the latest.

But she described his alleged ordeal at the hands of police as “absolutely awful”.

“Grant had only been in the country for four days when he was arrested,” she said. “For 45 minutes they were Tasered, beaten around the head and handcuffed before they were taken back to the hotel where Grant was staying.

“They were put in separate rooms and had guns held to their heads. They were told they would be killed and told they would never see their families again.”

After her son was jailed, Mrs Cameron said she believed he would be home by the end of the year and could even be pardoned within the next few months.

She told the BBC: “I do believe that my son will be given a pardon in July and he will be home with his family.”

The UAE embassy in London has so far refused to comment.