UK

Dubai British Tourists Arrested On Drug Charges Have 'Injuries Consistent With Torture'

06/03/2013 11:41 GMT | Updated 11/03/2013 20:06 GMT

A torture expert has claimed that X-rays and Foreign Office notes on injuries and bruising of three British men held in Dubai appear to prove they have been tortured.

Dr Frank Arnold, who has prepared reports on more than 500 asylum seekers who claim they were tortured, was asked to examine the evidence that three British tourists held on drugs charges in the United Arab Emirates were given electric shocks and beaten by police.

Grant Cameron, 25, and Karl Williams, 25, both from London and Suneet Jeerh, 25, from Essex were arrested in July of 2012 after synthetic cannabis was found in their car.

The Foreign Office told HuffPost UK it is providing consular assistance and investigating claims of torture.

The UAE has flatly denied that the men were tortured. The UAE embassy in the UK said in a statement: "The UAE is aware of allegations of torture of three British citizens by police in Dubai.

"An internal investigation was conducted and these allegations were found to be baseless. The Dubai authorities, however, continue to cooperate with the British Foreign Office and welcome additional reviews to investigate the matter.

"The authorities and judiciary in Dubai take all allegations of torture and alleged police abuse very seriously. Such behaviour is against the law and, where it is found to have occurred, those responsible are punished."

Dr Arnold has not examined the men, but has based his findings on X-rays and notes taken by British consular staff. Human rights charity Reprieve claim Dubai authorities will not allow them to assess the men in person.

In his report seen by HuffPost UK, Dr Arnold states: "The 'brown marks' described on the back of Mr Jeerh's back would be consistent with his having been subjected to electric shocks at high current density as delivered, for example, by a cattle prod.”

The three men were visited by consular staff six days after they claim the torture took place, and Dr Arnold said those British staff examining the men were not torture experts.

The FCO notes say: "SJ [Suneet Jeerh] said that the electric baton was also used on him 6-7 times (I saw 2

light brown circles in the middle of his back …).

"They all said ‘that the CID officers were slapping them all the time' (there was a very faded mark on KW's left arm on top of his left shoulder.

"I saw the top of his right hand was swollen. KW [Karl Williams] could straighten four of his fingers but not the little one).

"KW said that he saw the doctor at Port Rashid PS but refused to take “anti inflammatory" cream because he wanted us to see his hand and photograph it.”

Dr Arnold concluded: "The fracture in Mr William’s hand is, at the very least, consistent with trauma of

the kind he described."

"Torture and violent abuse are well known to cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition is characterized by hyper-arousal (with nightmares and flashbacks), disorders of sleep, memory and emotion.

"Certainly the statements from Mr Williams and Mr Jeerh indicate that they have symptoms consistent with PTSD."

In a draft witness statement distributed by Reprieve in late February, 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.

"Once I had been knocked to the ground, the police picked me up and put me on the bed.

"They pulled down my trousers, spread my legs and started to electrocute my testicles. It was unbelievably painful. I was so scared.

"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."

The three are due for a hearing on March 14th in Dubai. They have pleaded not guilty.

Cameron's father Phil told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it had been a "terrible time".

"I didn't think this sort of thing could happen now, especially somewhere like Dubai," he said.

Marc Callcutt, lawyer at Reprieve said: "What these men have been through is appalling and Dr Arnold’s report tells us that their abuse is not a matter for conjecture. Whether they were tortured or not can be categorically proved.

"The UAE authorities need to let Dr Arnold in to the prison, as we have requested, and conduct an evaluation of the men. If they do not allow this, then everyone should ask whether it is because they have something to hide.”