Last updated: 22 February, 2013

UAE denies torture of Britons on drugs charges

The United Arab Emirates on Friday dismissed charges that Dubai police had tortured three young Britons arrested more than seven months ago on drugs charges, a day after a court denied them bail.

“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 UAE embassy in London said, in a statement carried by WAM state news agency.

According to the UK-based organisation Reprieve, Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerth, all 25, have been “subjected to torture including beatings and electric shocks” by police in the Gulf emirate.

The three tourists, arrested on July 10, face charges of possession and planning to sell just over one kilogram (2.3 pounds) of synthetic cannabis known as Spice, as well as accusations of consuming drugs, the Gulf News daily said.

If convicted, the men could face maximum jail term of 15 years each, in addition to a fine of 200,000 dirhams ($54,495), the newspaper said.

They appeared in court on Thursday after their trial opened on January 28, the daily said, adding that they were denied bail by the judge who adjourned the hearing to March 14 when prosecution witnesses will be heard.

Reprieve, which said its lawyer Marc Calcutt spoke to the defendants, claimed they were “subjected to beatings, threatened by having guns put to their heads and, in the case of Mr Williams, having electric shocks administered to the testicles.”

Police took Williams and Cameron by surprise while in a car in a parking lot in the Dubai Marina neighbourhood while the third man was standing a few metres (yards) from the car, the daily said.

The squad found narcotics in envelopes hidden under the mats and in the trunk, it said.

The National daily said tests found the three had consumed Spice. The men said the drugs belonged to someone else and that they had consumed Spice before arriving in the United Arab Emirates, although that would also qualify as a crime in Dubai.