‘Tortured’ Redbridge men imprisoned in Dubai on drugs charges have appeal refused

Grant Cameron, Karl Williams, and Suneet Jeerh.

Grant Cameron, Karl Williams, and Suneet Jeerh. - Credit: Archant

Dubai authorities have refused the appeals of three Redbridge men who were jailed in April on drugs charges.

Suneet enjoying his time in Dubai.

Suneet enjoying his time in Dubai. - Credit: Archant

Suneet Jeerh, of Ilford, and Grant Cameron and Karl Williams, of Wanstead, denied charges of possessing, consuming and intending to supply illegal drugs but were sentenced to four years each.

Dubai is an increasingly popular holiday destination but many tourists are unaware of strict laws.

Dubai is an increasingly popular holiday destination but many tourists are unaware of strict laws. - Credit: Archant

The three friends claimed they were tortured, beaten and given electric shocks by police after being arrested on July 3 last year.

Police claimed they found a synthetic cannabis substitute known as “spice” in their hire car. It had been illegalised days before.

The men were imprisoned for months without trial and on Sunday their hopes of freedom were quashed for a second time when appeals against their sentences were thrown out.

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Suneet’s sister, Davena Kumar, was in Dubai for the hearing.

She said her brother had been told to drop allegations of torture against the police if he wanted to go home.

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She added: “He told them he’s not going to drop it.

“They said he could be in there for longer but they’ve already done the worst they can to a human.

“What more can they do?”

Suneet’s brother, Aneet Jeerh, was not surprised that the appeal was refused.

He said: “After a year in prison they can’t turn around and say ‘our system is flawed’ and let him out.

“It could open up a can of worms on other people they have arrested in the same manner.”

Suneet, 25, had been working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when friends Grant and Karl came out for a holiday travelling the country.

But the dream turned to a nightmare after their sudden arrest.

In a witness statement, Karl, of Herongate Road, described horrific abuse at the hands of police.

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.”

Although the men’s sentences appeared to have been reduced, a “full, impartial and independent investigation” into the allegations promised by UAE authorities has yet to emerge, despite pressure from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Prime Minister David Cameron.

In a letter to charity Reprieve, he wrote: “Our concerns about the allegations of torture […] have been repeatedly raised with the Emirati authorities, including by the Foreign Secretary and Alastair Burt.”

Suneet faced a further ordeal when he was separated from Grant and Karl and moved to the high security Al Awir Central Jail.

Davena said he witnessed horrific abuse and was forced to watch other inmates be raped, “like a lesson”.

But now he is hoping to be home for his 27th birthday on July 28 after an upcoming prison amnesty.

Authorities pardon hundreds of Dubai prisoners annually during Ramadan and Suneet, Karl and Grant’s families hope they may be freed.

Davena said: “We’re hoping he will be coming home in the next two weeks.

“Last year he spent his birthday in prison cells and now he’s just fed up – he wants to come home.”

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