Ambassador hails ‘friendship’ between UK and UAE during state visit after ‘tortured’ men jailed in Dubai
PUBLISHED: 15:58 30 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:05 30 April 2013
The president of the United Arab Emirates enjoyed a grand banquet at Windsor Castle with the Queen and Prime Minister today as questions remain over the imprisonment and alleged torture of Suneet Jeerh, Karl Williams and Grant Cameron in Dubai.
Family of the three men from Ilford and Wanstead, campaigners and MPs have asked David Cameron and ministers to discuss their sentences with Emirati officials during the two-day state visit.
But pomp and circumstance was the order of today as Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan watched military parades at Windsor Castle ahead of talks at Downing Street tomorrow.
Mr Jeerh, 25, Mr Williams, 26, and Mr Cameron, 25, were each jailed for four years by a Dubai judge yesterday after being found guilty of consuming a form of synthetic cannabis called “spice”.
It was a legal high until days before they were arrested in July last year, when police claimed to have found it in their hire car.
In a letter to legal charity Reprieve, Prime Minister Mr Cameron said the absence of medical examinations after allegations of torture were “a concern”.
He added that there would be “opportunities to discuss a wide range of issues” with Sheikh Khalifa but the Foreign Office has made it clear that the visit is mainly to strengthen ties between the UK and UAE.
British ambassador Dominic Jermey said it would be a “milestone” in the relationship between the two countries.
He added: “The ties between our nations draw strength from the links between our people, ranging from our thriving educational and tourism links to our growing investment in each other’s economies.
“Our practical cooperation and bond of friendship have never been stronger.”
He added that the UK government is “delighted” by the “warmth with which the large British community living in the UAE have been received”.
An investigator from legal charity Reprieve, Kate Higham, said it was difficult to see how the visit was “appropriate”.
She added: “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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