Berkshire

Ahmad Zeidan UAE jail sentence: David Cameron urged to intervene

Ahmad Zeidan Image copyright Reprieve
Image caption Ahmad Zeidan claims he was tortured into signing a confession in Arabic, a language he does not understand

The family of a student jailed for nine years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for possessing cocaine, worth about £3, has made a "last hope" appeal to David Cameron to "save" their son.

Ahmad Zeidan, 21, from Reading, said he was tortured into signing a confession in Arabic, a language he does not know, after his arrest last December.

His father has urged the British prime minister to petition for a pardon on a UAE "day of amnesty" on 2 December.

Downing Street has yet to comment.

'Threatened with rape'

Zeidan's nine-year sentence was upheld in September, so his family believes the amnesty day for prisoners, held on UAE's national day, is the "last window" for him "to have his life back".

Manal Zeidan's letter to Mr Cameron stated: "My son was beaten, whipped and dragged across the floor when he could no longer stand from the pain.

"He was forcibly stripped naked and threatened with rape; he was threatened with electrocution; he was hooded and taken to solitary where he was then repeatedly beaten again and humiliated for over a week."

The letter added: "I worry constantly for my son as I see his physical and mental health deteriorate. At one point, weeks went by as he coughed up blood."

Zeidan was studying at the Emirates Aviation College in Dubai at the time of his arrest.

He claimed he was in a car with men he did not know well when 0.04g of the drug was found in the glove compartment.

In June, human rights charity Reprieve wrote to Mr Cameron urging him to intervene.

The Foreign Commonwealth Office said: "The welfare of British nationals abroad is an important priority for the FCO.

"We are in contact with Mr Zeidan's lawyer about the mistreatment allegations and will continue to ensure this is raised."

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