Reprieve +44 (0) 207 553 8161
For Immediate Release: Tue April 15, 2014
Acquittal for Brit tortured by Dubai police
A British man arrested and tortured by Dubai police has today been acquitted.
Hasnain Ali (32), from London, was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested and held for three days without access to a lawyer or his family. While detained he was beaten and threatened with tasers, firearms, and the prospect of sexual assault. Following his torture he was forced to sign a ‘confession’ in Arabic, a language he doesn’t understand, and charged with drugs offences for which he could have been given a death sentence.
In response to Mr Ali’s acquittal on all charges, his brother Jed said:
“Our family is overjoyed at this morning’s verdict. It is such a relief that Hasnain’s innocence has been recognized and that we will soon have him home with his family. However, we still cannot understand why Hasnain was treated so terribly. We hope that the authorities in Dubai will put a stop to police torture before any other people or their families have to go through the same ordeal as us.”
Mr Ali’s case is not an isolated example. The trial is ongoing in the case of another British citizen facing a potential death sentence on the basis of a ‘confession’ extracted through torture. Ahmed Zeidan, a 20 year old student, was arrested last year in the neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah, tortured, and forced into signing a ‘confession’ relating to drugs charges. Despite repeated requests, UAE authorities have failed to carry out a proper investigation into Mr Zeidan’s mistreatment.
A report compiled by human rights charity Reprieve found that 75% of prisoners in the UAE report some sort of torture or abuse upon arrest. In the report, prisoners detailed the type of torture to which they were subjected with an alarming number including threats of a sexual nature. One prisoner reported that “They kept saying if you don’t co-operate, we will all [expletive] you one by one.”
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team said: “This is welcome news indeed for Hasnain. It was ludicrous that he was put on trial with ‘evidence’ extracted by torture in the first place – an acquittal is a just outcome. But police torture and abuse in the UAE is systemic and ongoing. Ahmed Zeidan is a 20 year old British student who was tortured by police in the UAE and is now facing a possible death sentence – the UK government must do everything they can to investigate the abuse to which he was subjected and assist in his defence.”
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