Mr. David Haigh, the former Managing Director of Leeds United Football Club, was arrested and imprisoned in Dubai, the U.A.E., in March 2014, for a period of 22
3 months, following him being ‘tricked’ into flying to Dubai by his former employers.
His arrest, was on the basis that he had “breached the trust” of his former employers, allegations that were, and are still vigorously denied. He was convicted and then offered a Royal Pardon provided that he did not appeal. Mr. Haigh was then rearrested hours before he was due to fly home, for “twitter slander” held for a further 5 months then acquitted. In parallel, his former employers had commenced civil litigation in the DIFC courts against a defenseless, detained, and tortured Mr. Haigh.
The allegations and therefore his subsequent detention, are baseless. However, regardless of this, the treatment he suffered in custody does, on any objective view, amount to torture.
Mr. Haigh was beaten, physically assaulted, Tasered, and subjected to sensory deprivation. Such abhorrent treatment has no place in any democratic system based on the rule of law.
Further, Mr. Haigh was also forced to watch other prisoners being tortured in front of him, again, abhorrent treatment that simply cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Since being back in the UK, Mr. Haigh has undergone, and continues to undergo, treatment for serious physical and dental injuries sustained during his detention, including fractures to the face and hand. He has spent almost 5 months in hospital and still requires further surgery.
Further, psychological assistance has also been sought following a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) arising from torture.
On 18 July 2017, a preliminary complaint was submitted to the Metropolitan Police, specifically, SO15, the unit with responsibility for investigating terrorism, war crimes, and allegations of torture.
That preliminary complaint has now been supplanted by a more formal, and detailed filing.
The filing details the relevant law, and the basis upon which the treatment suffered by Mr. Haigh at the hands of the UAE authorities satisfies the definition of torture; as has been expressed previously, the treatment suffered, cannot, on any objective viewpoint, amount to anything other than torture.
By way of evidence, Mr. Haigh has submitted a lengthy statement of complaint and relevant medical reports detailing the injuries sustained, and the treatment required to correct those physical and mental injuries sustained during his detention.
The Metropolitan Police have commenced an investigation and requested further information from various parties, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Mr. Haigh.
It is anticipated that the Metropolitan Police will request that Mr. Haigh submits to a formal investigative interview, and he welcomes the opportunity to do so.
A complaint has also been filed with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who have in turn complained to the UAE regarding the treatment of Mr. Haigh.
Since his acquittal, Mr. Haigh has focused on helping others that are suffering injustices’ in the UAE. He recently spoke at the United Nations, on the UAE’s use of torture and unfair trials and worked on securing the freedom of another British citizen unfairly detained, JamieHarron.
Mr. Haigh, and Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers look forward to the progress in this matter, and look forward to justice being achieved.
Those who commit such crimes cannot be allowed to do so with impunity. A position of zero-tolerance must be adopted.