Dubai police tortured Britons held on drug charges, charity claims

Rights group says three suspects held for seven months awaiting trial suffered beatings, and in one case electric shocks, after arrest in emirate

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 2:56am


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Three Britons held for seven months without trial on drug charges in Dubai were tortured by police with beatings and electric shocks, a rights group claims.

Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerh, all 25, were arrested while on holiday on July 10 after police allegedly found a synthetic form of cannabis known as "spice" in their car.

The men signed documents in Arabic - a language none of them can read - after being threatened with guns, and in Williams' case having electric shocks to the testicles, said Marc Calcutt, a lawyer for the charity Reprieve.

They have denied charges of "consumption and possession with intent to distribute" and were due to appear at their first hearing yesterday.

A neutral party was appointed to investigate if any torture had taken place but found the claims to be untrue, a police source said.

"I remember that the police put a towel on my face so I could not see. They kept telling me I was going to die. I was so scared," Williams says in a draft witness statement provided to Calcutt. "Once I had been knocked to the ground, the police picked me up and put me on the bed. They pulled down my trousers, spread my legs and started to electrocute my testicles. It was unbelievably painful. I was so scared.

They pulled down my trousers, spread my legs and started to electrocute my testicles. It was unbelievably painful. I was so scared

"Then they took off the towel and I could see that there was a gun pointed at my head. All I could think was that the gun in my face could go off if the policeman slipped, and it would kill me. I started to believe that I was going to die in that room."

The torture initially took place in the desert, it was claimed, and subsequently in a hotel room.

"The idea that young British tourists … can find themselves arrested and tortured in this way is truly appalling," Calcutt said. "The Dubai authorities need to immediately drop the charges … and conduct an independent investigation into how these terrible events occurred."

Charities say police in the emirates are notorious for violence towards prisoners. Suspects are often beaten, starved, raped and force-fed drugs, they allege. Even accusations of trivial offences can result in foreigners being kept in cramped cells for weeks and pressured into signing confessions written in Arabic.

Brown, a 39-year-old British tourist, was beaten to death at a Dubai police station in 2011 after being arrested for swearing.

Additional reporting by Reuters