October 23 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Friday, February 22, 2013
The Ilford man imprisoned in Dubai on drugs charges has been separated from his friends and forced to watch other inmates be raped, his devastated sister has said.
Suneet Jeerh, 25, has been held in the United Arab Emirates since July after being arrested with two friends from Wanstead after police found “spice”, a synthetic form of cannabis, in their car.
Grant Cameron, 25, and Karl Williams, 25, are being held in Port Rashid prison but Suneet is on his own in the notorious Al Awir Central Jail.
He gets to call sister Davena Kumar twice a week.
She said: “I’ve never heard him sound that way before, it’s awful.
“The British Embassy said they wouldn’t be separated but now he’s on his own.
“They’ve completely let us down.
“He’s sharing a cell with someone who’s been sentenced for life.
“They’ve made him watch other men being raped, like it’s a lesson.”
Davena and brother Aneet flew out to their brother after he was arrested in July.
But strict rules on visiting meant the siblings were separated by a window and could see each other on just one day a week.
Davena, 32, said: “He was skinny and he wasn’t himself.
“He was banging on the door calling my name and I just wanted to hug him.”
Suneet had been in Dubai for just a month when he was arrested.
He moved to the city as a “new beginning” for work experience in magazines to help towards his dream career.
When friend Grant came out for a holiday with Karl, the group hired a car to travel around the country.
But the police’s discovery of “spice” in the vehicle brought the holiday to an abrupt end when they were charged with consumption and possession with intent to supply.
The drug was made illegal in the UAE in July 1 last year – just nine days before the arrest.
The men, who deny the charges, claim they were beaten, tortured and threatened by police officers and forced to sign documents in Arabic, which they do not understand.
A statement from Karl claimed he was tortured by police in a hotel.
“I started to believe that I was going to die in that room,” he said.
The three men are being represented by separate lawyers and Davena is living with her family, in The Drive, after using money saved up for a house to pay £50,000 legal costs.
Meanwhile, Suneet faces an anxious wait before his postponed trial on March 14.
Davena said: “He’s been in there for so long, watching the abuse and completely cut off from the outside world.
“He’s resigned to being jailed but he just wants to know what’s going on.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is providing consular assistance to the three prisoners and has raised torture allegations “at a very senior level”.
A spokesman added: “We are calling on them to conduct a full impartial and independent investigation.”
The office cannot overrule another country’s laws or legal processes.
Dubai’s National Media Council has said police deny allegations of torture.
The Recorder has asked the UAE embassy to comment.