Grandfather Albert Douglas was left in tears, saying final goodbyes to his distressed family after being told he would be transferred to the prison where he was violently beaten by guards.
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His family went into action, urgently appealing to MP Felicity Buchan, the FCDO and Liz Truss to intervene and protect him. “My father expected he would be killed if transferred to Al Ain prison where he was beaten to the point of permanent disability and broken bones. We had to swing into action before it was too late”, explained his son Wolfgang Douglas. “It was beyond horrendous and nobody was told. The British Embassy had no idea and we only found out by luck. God knows what would have happened if he hadn’t phoned to tell me. Nobody would have known where he’d been taken and we couldn’t have taken steps to protect him. It was an extremely emotional and worrying evening for all of us, especially my father.
“He had just been through 4 hours of interviews in Dubai with forensic doctors and Emirati VIP’s to go over what happened to him in Al Ain, then suddenly they are sending him to the very people who did this to him. This has been his worst fear all along. He’s had to speak out about what happened to him at great risk to his life, knowing that at any time, he could be sent back there.
“We were all panicking. We pressed the British government to urgently intervene and explained that he was in a seriously vulnerable position and this wasn’t acceptable. They needed to protect him.
“They must have done something because later that evening, I received a call from my dad who explained the most cinematic experience I’ve heard. When he arrived in Abu Dhabi, there were lots of arguments in Arabic that he couldn’t understand. He was seen by a forensic doctor to confirm his injuries but was made to wait for two hours, wondering what would become of him. He was taken into a room with some very high up individuals, people in authority. They wanted to begin the interrogations again, to get him to repeat everything he’d already told the authorities in Dubai, but with no protection, nobody from the Embassy and no lawyer. He was nervous to say anything, knowing they could take him away and do anything they wanted to him, but he tried to maintain his demeanour. Just ten minutes later, “His Excellency” walked into the room and told Albert “it’s ok, it’s over now, you come home with us. Suddenly, he’s back in Dubai. We’re not sure what would have happened without diplomatic intervention but dread to think”.
Albert is still confused about what happened, noting the arguments between the officials, but for him, his ordeal is anything but over. “The long term businessman and beloved grandfather has been in prison for over a year for a crime he hasn’t committed”, added Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai. “He has been beaten, suffered significant injuries that require multiple surgeries. He has been left to rot in the prison with these broken bones and without medication with his complaints ignored by higher authorities. It is abominable that he is still in Dubai, reliving his experience again and again with the fear of retribution from the authorities who beat him. When something so egregious has taken place, the government should not only investigate and bring to account the offenders, but also give clemency to the victim. Albert is frail, is suffering from emotional trauma and still requires surgery. It won’t be over for Albert until the government of Dubai allows him to return to the UK where he can seek appropriate medical care with the support from his loving family. Anything less is inhumane.”
Wolfgang commented, “for the past year, we have raised his case on a daily basis to politicians, media and the public. We’ve seen it discussed in Parliament, by MP’s, by Liz Truss and Ambassador Moody. We just need this to come to an end so we can heal”.
Detained in Dubai: http://www.detainedindubai.org
Detained in Doha: https://www.detainedindoha.org
Radha Stirling: http:///www.radhastirling.com
Due Process International: http://www.dueprocess.international