Dubai police 'deny torture of British men'

Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerh, three British men arrested in Dubai Grant Cameron, Karl Williams and Suneet Jeerh were on holiday when they were arrested by Dubai police

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Dubai police have denied allegations they tortured three Britons awaiting trial on drugs charges, Dubai's National Media Council has said.

The council, which is attached to state news agency WAM, said a "neutral party" had been appointed to investigate, but had found the claims to be untrue.

Grant Cameron and Karl Williams, of London, and Suneet Jeerh, of Essex, were arrested in Dubai in July.

On Wednesday, a charity said police had beaten and electrocuted the men.

Police said they had found synthetic cannabis known as "spice" in their car.

'So scared'

The three men, all 25, and who had been on holiday at the time of their arrest, signed documents in Arabic they did not understand after being threatened with guns, the human rights charity Reprieve said.

Start Quote

They were taken to the desert, they were handcuffed, they were tasered, there was no water, they were beaten up - one of his colleagues had his arm broken - and they were tortured”

End Quote Phil Cameron Father of Grant Cameron

A trial hearing due on Thursday was not carried out in full and a further court hearing is expected in March, the charity said.

The men deny a charge of "consumption and possession with intent to distribute" in relation to the cannabis.

Reports by the National Media Council said Dubai police denied any torture had taken place.

A police source said they were aware of the allegations and had had dealings with the British consulate regarding the matter.

A neutral party was appointed to investigate if any torture had taken place, but had found the claims to be untrue, the source said.

Dubai's public prosecutor was also aware of the case and the investigation, it added.

The men have spent seven months in custody pending trial.

Reprieve lawyer Marc Calcutt 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.

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 placed 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."

'Pretty horrific'

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

Mr Cameron's father Phil told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it had been a "terrible time". It took him almost eight months to learn what charges might be brought against his son, he added.

Describing the treatment the men faced, he said: "They were taken to the desert, they were handcuffed, they were tasered, there was no water, they were beaten up - one of his colleagues had his arm broken - and they were tortured.

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

Mr Williams and Mr Cameron are being held at a police station, while Mr Jeerh has been moved to a jail.

Mr Calcutt said the men had been told various things by the Dubai prosecutor and had even been "told regularly this would go away if they sign documents in languages they don't understand.

"I've sat down and been able to talk to them about what happened to them and it's pretty horrific."

Dubai's legal system did not have a "great reputation", Mr Calcutt said, calling on authorities to release the men and investigate the torture allegations.

The BBC has contacted the United Arab Emirates embassy in London, but has not yet received a response to the allegations.

A spokesperson for 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," the spokesperson added.

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