David Cameron will ‘raise issue’ of Redbridge prisoners with UAE president during state visit
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
The British government will be rolling out the red carpet for the president of the United Arab Emirates tomorrow as calls for the release of the three Redbridge men jailed in Dubai today get louder.
Suneet Jeerh, of Ilford, and Grant Cameron and Karl Williams, of Wanstead, will be in Al Awir Central Jail as Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan dines with the Queen and meets Prime Minister David Cameron.
The three men denied drug consumption and possession with intent to supply but were sentenced to four years each this morning.
Possession and supply charges were dropped before the ruling and there are opportunities to appeal and amnesties during Ramadan.
They have been in prison since July last year, when police found a cannabis substitute called “spice” in their hire car.
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Mr Jeerh, 25, Mr Cameron, 25, and Mr Williams, 26, denied all charges and claimed they were tortured by police after their arrest with electric shocks and beatings, before being forced to sign documents in Arabic.
In a witness statement, Mr Williams, of Herongate Road, described horrific abuse in a hotel.
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He wrote: “They pulled down my trousers, spread my legs and started to electrocute my testicles.
“It was unbelievably painful. I was so scared.
“I started to believe that I was going to die in that room.”
A torture expert’s report found their injuries were “consistent with” the ordeal described.
In a letter to charity Reprieve, which has campaigned on behalf of the men, Mr Cameron said he was raise “concerns” during the state visit.
He wrote: “We continue to press for evidence for a full, impartial and independent investigation into the allegations.
“The absence of an independent medical examination remains a concern.
“During the state visit of Sheikh Khalifa there will be opportunities to raise a wide range of issues including concerns about this and other consular cases.”
Emirati authorities said a police investigation into the torture claims had found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Mr Jeerh’s sister, Davena Kumar, said the timing of the state visit was “convenient”.
She added: “It’s a shame it wasn’t before – then they could’ve put more pressure on to drop the charges.”
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes and Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer met foreign office minister Alistair Burt last week over the case.
Mr Gapes said he was pushing for an investigation but was pleased the men had not got a longer sentence.
He added: “I think there’s a good chance that the matter will be raised.”
Mr Cryer said the UAE must uphold its commitments under international law.
He added: “This case has shone a light into the working of a legal system and what we can see looks pretty bad.
“The cases of these three British men are riddled with inconsistencies and doubts, more than enough for them to be released.”
An investigation was also promised to the family of Lee Brown, of Chadwell Heath, who died in police custody in Dubai in April 2011.
Fellow inmates at Bur Dubai police station said he was severely beaten by several police officers and left to die of his injuries but two years on, the family are still waiting for answers.
Sign a petition to the United Arab Emirates government to release Mr Jeerh, Mr Williams and Mr Cameron here www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/government-of-the-uae-release-grant-cameron-karl-williams-and-suneet-jeerh.