British drug accused 'denied legal visit' in Dubai - now sentenced

By source · Apr 8, 2013 · Updated Apr 29, 2013 · ·
  1. source
    A legal charity says its staff have been refused access to two Britons accused of drugs offences in Dubai.

    Reprieve said it sent a lawyer and an investigator to a prison to visit Grant Cameron (left) and Karl Williams (middle). A third defendant, Suneet Jeerh, (right) has been allowed to meet the Reprieve visitors.

    The men claim to have been tortured by police but this is disputed.

    The three east Londoners deny the drug charges and will be represented by local lawyers in court on Monday.

    The men were arrested during a holiday last August after police said they found a quantity of a synthetic cannabis known as "spice" in their car.

    They face charges of supplying, possessing, and taking the drug.

    The torture allegations include beatings and electric shocks, and Reprieve investigator Kate Higham said it was "scandalous" they had been denied legal visitors.
    Gunpoint claim

    It is also claimed they were threatened with guns and forced to sign documents in Arabic which the did not understand.

    "The United Arab Emirates [of which Dubai is one] must release these men and conduct a full investigation into their torture without delay," Ms Higham said.

    In February, Dubai's National Media Council said a "neutral party" had investigated the torture claims and found them to be untrue.

    Representatives of Reprieve have seen each of the men since their arrest, but Ms Higham and lawyer Marc Callcutt visited Dubai recently and made two unsuccessful attempts to see Mr Cameron and Mr Williams - on 25 and 27 March. They were allowed to see Mr Jeerh, who is in a different prison.

    The next trial hearing is due to take place on Monday and the men, who are all 25, will be represented in court by Dubai lawyers.

    Reprieve has voiced concerns about the trial, which it said heard from one of the police officers involved in the torture during the last hearing on 14 March.

    Mr Callcutt earlier said the men could face up to four years in prison if convicted of consumption, or between 10-15 years if convicted of possession.

    "Under certain circumstances they could be sentenced to death," he added.
    Torture claim

    In a draft witness statement given to Reprieve, Mr Williams said: "I remember that the police put a towel on my face so I could not see. They kept telling me I was going to die. I was so scared."

    Mr Williams said he was put on a bed and had electric shocks administered to his testicles.

    "It was unbelievably painful. I was so scared," he said.

    "Then they took off the towel and I could see that there was a gun pointed at my head. All I could think was that the gun in my face could go off if the policeman slipped, and it would kill me. I started to believe that I was going to die in that room."

    It is alleged the torture took place in the desert, where the men were initially held, and then again in a hotel room.

    The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed it had been providing "consular assistance" to the three men, and had "been in close contact with Reprieve".

    "The FCO takes all allegations of mistreatment and torture extremely seriously," a spokesperson added.

    Dubai authorities have not commented on the claim the men have been denied legal visits.

    7th April 2013, BBC News Online.

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  1. source
    Three British men have been found guilty of drug offences in Dubai and jailed for four years each.

    Londoners Suneet Jeerh, Grant Cameron and Karl Williams, who denied the charges, will be deported afterwards.

    The three men, who were charged with possessing, taking and intending to distribute illegal drugs, were arrested on holiday in July.

    Cameron's mother Tracy said they were "really happy" the supply charges had been dropped.

    Torture concerns

    The three men, dressed in white prison overalls, made a brief appearance at Dubai's criminal court.

    Harsher sentences had been expected for Jeerh, 25, Cameron, 25, and Williams, 26, who were arrested after police said they found a quantity of synthetic cannabis known as "spice" in their car.

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron had expressed concern over allegations they were tortured while in custody.

    The men say they were subjected to torture by police, including electric shocks and beatings. Police in Dubai have denied any wrongdoing and say an internal investigation into the torture allegations found no evidence to support the claims.

    Legal rights charity Reprieve has taken on their case. Investigator Kate Higham said the drug supply charges were dropped entirely.

    "The boys all got four years for consumption. While we are pleased with this result we will continue to push for the men's release and return in light of the torture they have suffered," she said.

    "David Cameron must push for this when UAE President Sheikh Khalifa arrives on a state visit."

    In a letter to Reprieve, David Cameron has said he will use Wednesday's visit to raise his concerns about the case.

    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 His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan there will be opportunities to raise a wide range of issues including concerns about this and other consular cases."

    'Pretty terrifying'

    The BBC's world affairs correspondent Richard Galpin says the fact the case is going to be raised is "pretty significant", especially as the Gulf state is a very important strategic partner.

    He said the men's families were all relieved they had not been convicted for dealing, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

    It was understood the men were going to appeal against the sentences, he added, but the families were hoping they would receive a pardon from the president.

    It is claimed the torture took place in the desert, where the men were initially taken after their arrest, and subsequently in hotel rooms.

    Grant Cameron's mother, Tracy, said her son and his friends were put through "a pretty terrifying ordeal".

    "Grant was separated from his friends, driven around the desert, beaten, kicked, punched, tasered and a gun was held to his head and he was told he was going to die," she said.

    "They were taken back to their hotel. It does appear they were separated from each other and each taken to a different room.

    "Karl was laid out on the bed, his trousers were stripped down and electric shocks were administered to his testicles while he was blindfolded."

    Suneet Jeerh's sister, Davena Kumar, told the BBC her brother was given electric shock treatment.

    "His whole spine was electrocuted quite badly. Even now you can see where his back is still not the same," she said.

    Reprieve says the men were forced to sign documents in Arabic - a language none of them understands - and the statements were used as evidence.

    Ms Higham says there was evidence torture had taken place.

    "We have seen notes from the Foreign Office who visited the lads and documented the marks and scars on their body," she said.

    "We've seen an X-ray showing Karl's broken hand and we've got a doctor who says there are some fairly easy diagnostic tests that can be run which can show whether they were subject to electrocutions as the men claim."

    Williams and Cameron are both from Wanstead, in north-east London, while Jeerh is from Ilford, east London.

    29th April 2013, BBC News
  2. Phenoxide
    [IMGR="white"][/IMGR]British drug case trio return home after Dubai pardon

    Three British men jailed for four years each for drug offences in Dubai earlier this year have returned home after being pardoned, legal rights charity Reprieve has said.

    Londoners Suneet Jeerh, Grant Cameron and Karl Williams were found guilty of possessing synthetic cannabis in April.

    They claimed they were tortured by police following their arrest while on holiday in the Gulf state last July.

    The three men denied the charges, and were pardoned in a Ramadan amnesty.

    The men, all in their 20s, were arrested after police said they found a quantity of a drug known as "spice", a synthetic product which mimics the effects of cannabis, in their car.

    They say they were subjected to torture by police - both in the desert, where they were initially taken after their arrest, and subsequently in hotel rooms - including with beatings and electric shocks.

    Reprieve investigator Kate Higham said: "The release of Grant, Karl and Suneet is welcome, but long overdue.

    "They were treated appallingly by Dubai police, who still have serious questions to answer.

    "We are glad that they are all now safely back in the UK, but the UAE's terrible record on torture must not be forgotten."

    Prime Minister David Cameron raised the case with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed during his state visit to the UK earlier this year.

    Police in Dubai have denied any wrongdoing and say an internal investigation into the torture allegations found no evidence to support the claims.

    BBC News
    20th July 2013
  3. source
    Wow, I thought they were sentenced and that would be it - we wouldn't hear anything else until 3 and a half years later when they are released early on good behaviour and deported back to the UK.
    Great stuff - so glad they have been released, a) because of what they were charged with - 4 years for synthetic cannabis? Yeah come on! and b) no longer subjected to torture.

    It's a shame that they are not investigating the torture allegations any further - damn shame that the initial internal investigation showed no evidence... no evidence? What on earth were they looking at? Obviously not scars and marks on their bodies...

    I hope that the UK government and the three men themselves do not let the allegations lie, if the allegations are true then it is imperative that the Dubai police responsible are dealt with correctly - things like this cannot be allowed to continue with UK citizens abroad.

    Great update Phen, thanks
  4. upnorthhillrod
    It is a known fact that the arabic world has very strict drug laws. If i were going on vaction to my grandmas house i know she would not want me smoking pot on her porch, in her yard, in her garage, in the house, or anywhere on her property.

    So what do i do when i visit my grandma? I leave my dope behind out of respect for her. These guests didn't want to play by the rules and they got burned and burned hard.
  5. Hey :-)
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