“UK’s Top Diplomatic Priority” - UAE’s Torture of British Citizen, Albert Douglas
The British Government now consider tortured Brit Albert Douglas’s case the “top diplomatic priority”, while Emirati diplomats ask if Douglas wants “justice”.
British grandfather, Albert Douglas, was beaten, tortured and subjected to human rights abuses while in UAE custody, arrested over a cheque the prosecutor has now confirmed, he did not write.
“Albert was a typical British entrepreneur expat, singing the UAE’s praises while he soaked up the sun. He never believed that he would be a party to the gruelling diplomatic meetings that took place last week”, reported Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai who has spearheaded the campaign to free him.
The case of Albert Douglas has been raised to the highest levels of the British government. It’s been raised on the floor of Parliament several times and calls have been made by Baroness Whitaker and Andy Slaughter, MP for sanctions over his treatment. Progress has been made by Kensington MP Felicity Buchan, the new Foreign Secretary, Lizz Truss and Ambassador Moody in the UAE.
“After the death of Lee Bradley Brown in police custody and the torture of Matthew Hedges, the British government had hoped the UAE would cease brutality against citizens in detention, but there has been a history of trade and security interests being prioritised by both governments which has left individuals at risk of continued abuse”, added Stirling.
“With so much support, we hope that Dubai will release Albert Douglas imminently and that he will be returned to England where he can complete his surgeries under the care of his own health system and family.
“It is near impossible for the UAE to create the image of safety and modernity while Albert remains in detention. The European Parliament just boycotted Dubai’s expo over human rights concerns and there is an increasing opposition coming from the UK and US. It’s important that the UAE free Albert immediately and allow him to return to the UK. Anything less will be seen as the UAE supporting the torture and abuse of prisoners, and will raise alarm that innocent visitors could be beaten or even killed because they have chosen to take a holiday in or invest in Dubai”.
Stirling has called for assurances that this treatment will not be tolerated in the UAE.
A meeting was held between Dubai authorities, a silent member of the newly formed UAE human rights institute and Mr Douglas.
“The public prosecutor held a four hour meeting with my father”, said Albert’s son Wolfgang Douglas, “it was held to establish the details of the human rights violations, torture and beatings that had taken place. My father gave detailed evidence about what happened, the circumstances, the officers involved and the events that led to his multiple and substantial injuries. It wasn’t easy for him. He was hauled out of his cell with zero notice to vividly describe the traumatic events without any support.
“He told the Prosecutor how he was beaten to the point of losing consciousness, punched, kicked and stamped on while in custody. He was made to suffer great humiliation, water and sleep deprivation and many other forms of violations. A very long and detailed report was taken. My father confirmed the beatings caused lasting damage to his head, back, hands and shoulder resulting in permanent disability and numerous surgeries. He will have to live with such disabilities for the rest of his life.
“The officer appeared to be horrified by the reality of the situation after hearing and seeing it first hand.
“The officer advised him that an MIR scan would not be possible because of the metal bolts, pins and plates already fitted in his broken shoulder. My father complained that he had been neglected, deprived of medical care and attention following the incident and just left in pain in the prison for all this time. Now they have to re-break his bones to mend them properly. He should not have to go through this, especially in the presence of those he holds responsible.
“They learned about his blackouts, showing them injuries where he had fallen. His blackouts started when he was kicked on the head and punched to the floor from behind. He was bleeding from his ears and expected brain swelling and trauma to cause serious damage.
“My father explained that his broken bones in his hands have set all crooked and painful, and he dreads any further operations after his last experience under the knife with the Dubai prison’s doctors. He was left without his medications and pain relief.
“The prosecutor learned that the three perpetrators threatened Albert, threatening to harm him if he went public. He has been living in pain and in fear since the incident. The UAE have provided him no safety after wrongfully detaining an innocent man over a cheque he didn’t write.
“He made sure to tell them of Dubai’s prison guards trying to force him to confess, to make propaganda videos under duress saying that he is being treated well. They wanted him to confess to writing the same cheque that Dubai’s own experts have now proved was not his. It’s unimaginable.”
Dubai Public Prosecution assured the British government and Albert Douglas that they will ‘take action’ against the officers involved in his assault. Authorities acknowledged that Mr Douglas had been subjected to terrible injustice, human rights violations and the abuse of power by authorities in Al Ain prison and at one point in the meeting, the prosecutor “held is head in his hands”.
But is this response genuine? Radha Stirling says “Albert’s abuse was raised directly to Dubai authorities almost a year ago but they continued to deprive him of treatment and medication while assuring the British government of the opposite. It appears to be only recently and with the escalating pressure from the media, coupled with the family’s lobbying at luxury property events and the UK government’s interference, that Dubai is finally beginning to see the seriousness of what has happened.
“The Inquest into Lee Bradley Brown’s death is taking place this year. The European Parliament boycotted the Dubai Expo and rights groups have criticised the Emirates over multiple violations, but the Emirates have managed to circumvent accountability with donations, influence and the threat of growing alliances with not so friendly nations. The UAE is looking to recover its economy, attract entrepreneurs, expats and investment with glamorous new television shows, new real estate options, easy residency visas and even avenues to a second citizenship.
“With a newly formed Human Rights Institute, let’s hope it’s not just for show. Dubai authorities and ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum have the power to intervene in Albert’s case and help the grandfather home. While he remains in prison, there is no accountability.
All rulers should then issue explicit instructions to guards on the treatment of prisoners.
A clemency request has been submitted by the Foreign Office but the family hopes that, given the circumstances, his case will be considered early.
“We are pleased to be notified that the British government considers this their “top diplomatic priority” effectively putting all other diplomatic and allied agreements on the backburner until there is a solution. We are grateful for the ongoing support of the public, the media and the British governments in resolving Albert’s case and making the UAE a safer place for visitors in the future”.
Albert Douglas, wrongfully detained in Dubai and subject to grave human rights abuses within the UAE prison system. #FreeAlbert is a campaign solely dedicated to getting Albert home and ending torture in the Emirates.
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