The British Prime Minister has expressed his “concern” over the treatment of three British tourists tortured in Dubai, ahead of this week’s State Visit by the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In a letter to human rights charity Reprieve, which is supporting the three men, David Cameron states that “our concerns about the allegations of torture…have been repeatedly raised with the Emirati authorities, including by the Foreign Secretary and [Foreign Office Minister] Alastair Burt.” He adds that “The absence of an independent medical examination [of the men] remains a concern,” and that “we continue to press for evidence of a full, impartial and independent investigation.”
The comments come ahead of a State Visit by UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Britain, beginning on Tuesday 30 April.
The three men – Grant Cameron (25) and Karl Williams (26) from London and Suneet Jeerh (25) from Essex – were subjected to torture by UAE police in July 2012, including electric shocks and beatings, resulting in a broken hand for Mr Williams. They were then forced to sign documents in Arabic, a language they do not understand, before being charged with drugs offences, to which they have pleaded not guilty.
The men are expected to receive a verdict in their trial – which saw the police involved in their torture called to the witness stand to testify against them – on Monday 29 April, the day before the Sheikh’s arrival in Britain. The UAE has so far failed to properly investigate the men’s mistreatment.
Commenting, Reprieve investigator Kate Higham said: “The Prime Minister’s concern is welcome, but it is hard to see how a State Visit is appropriate for the President of a country which has tortured our own citizens. At the very least, the mistreatment of these three men must be a central issue for discussion during the visit. If the UAE is allowed to torture our citizens with impunity, the British public will rightly wonder just what the point of close relations with the Emiratis is.”
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2. The full text of the Prime Minister’s letter is available on request. Further details on the case of the three men can be found here: www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/grant_karl_suneet_dubai_torture