Following the publication this week of a British judge’s finding that Dubai’s Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ordered, organised and is culpable for the illegal abductions of two of his adult children, Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling cautioned that UK citizens in Dubai may be subject to targeted harassment by police and immigration authorities, as well as by the Emirati general public, in retaliation for the ruling.
“There is every reason to believe that British citizens living in or visiting Dubai are at heightened risk after the publication of Sir Andrew McFarlane’s ruling,” she said, “both the cases of Princesses Shamsa and Latifa demonstrated that the state apparatus of Dubai, specifically the security services, military and law enforcement, operate according to the personal wishes of Sheikh Mohammed, and he does not hesitate to mobilise them for vindictive and egoistic purposes. Furthermore, the police, prosecutors and judges in Dubai surely know without being told that any case filed against a British national at this time will proceed rapidly to conviction without the slightest scrutiny; if only to send a message to the UK government.”
Stirling expressed concerns that British citizens who are currently suffering wrongful detention in Dubai may also be subjected to abuse by guards and inmates, and that the FCO may be powerless to object.
“Abuse and violence are well-documented in Dubai’s police stations and the central jail; British citizen Lee Bradley Brown was murdered in police custody in 2011 and we have countless testimonies by UK and other foreign nationals about the prevalence of torture in Dubai’s detention facilities,” Stirling said, “In the wake of the McFarlane ruling, Dubai prison officials are likely to feel they have a ‘license to abuse’ British detainees in retaliation, and may even expect to be rewarded for such targeted violations by their superiors for what will be viewed as a show of fealty to Sheikh Mohammed. The FCO and consular officials will almost certainly be stonewalled by Dubai authorities in any effort they might make to intervene on behalf of British citizens.
“Sheikh Mohammed has few options for expressing his objection to the McFarlane ruling, but he will undoubtedly seek retribution against the UK for essentially identifying him as a kidnapper and torturer. One of the only methods available to him will be to put pressure on the British government by targeting our country’s citizens in Dubai.”
Stirling urged the FCO to update and increase its travel warnings to UK citizens going to the UAE. “Dubai was already a very risky place for British tourists and expats, and it just became considerably more dangerous.”
UK court rules Sheikh Mohammed breached international law when he abducted crew of Nostromo, including Princess Latifa.
Radha Stirling, is founder and CEO of UK / USA based legal and human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, Expert Witness and respected analyst of Middle East Policy.
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