To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of the United Arab Emirates regarding the imprisonment of Albert Douglas. (HL593).
“Albert Douglas has felt completely abandoned by the British Foreign Office”, said Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International. “He was beaten, forced to drink from a toilet tap, threatened and intimidated while watching people being hung upside down, tortured and seriously abused. He’s been denied his heart medication since his arrest in February and the FCO has still failed to provide it. What’s even more frightening is their post meeting report. The FCO finally met with Albert but their report did not represent the content of the meeting. They tried to whitewash what was happening to him, reporting that he was fine and okay and disregarding the abuse he’s suffered. This is absolutely congruent with their neglect of citizens in the UAE”.
In response to Lady Whitaker’s question, the FCO answered:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
Whilst the FCDO cannot interfere in the legal processes of another country, officials have been in contact with the UAE authorities to raise concerns for Mr Douglas' health and welfare, and to ensure his access to medical treatment. Consular staff are in contact with Mr Douglas and are providing him with ongoing support.
Date and time of answer: 09 Jun 2021 at 17:04.
“The typical and dismissive answer from Lord Ahmad is representative of the FCO’s focus on appeasing the UAE, and working with them to protect abuse, rather than prioritising the safety of British nationals. They still haven’t managed to get Albert his medicine. It’s a joke”, added Stirling. “We have received years worth of complaints about the FCO’s lack of care for citizens. It’s quite appalling when we see Britain, who has one of the strongest relationships with the UAE and therefore significant influence, only using that influence for trade and business opportunities. The United States, Canada, Malaysia and Nigeria regularly intervene to protect their citizens from injustice and abuse.”
Albert’s son Wolfgang Douglas says “The FCO seems to be more interested in apologising for not doing their job than actually doing it. It’s incomprehensible that they haven’t even got him his medicine at this point. If he suffers a stroke or heart attack, they will have blood on their hands. It’s not just about his health though, my dad’s been jailed for a crime he hasn’t committed and he shouldn’t even be in prison in the first place, begging for his medicine and being beaten for doing so”.
The FCO is fully aware of the UAE’s human rights abuses and torture. UK courts refuse to extradite people due to the ‘real risk of human rights abuses and torture’ and there have been numerous cases of the abuse of Brits in prison. “At this point and with so many cases of torture and abuse, it is truly disgraceful that the UK has not applied diplomatic pressure to finally end this treatment. They have not even taken the small step of warning British citizens that they could be arbitrarily detained or wrongfully accused and tortured as a result”, said Radha Stirling. “It is for this reason that Lady Whitaker has written to Rt Hon Dominic Raab, MP and suggested it’s time to table sanctions and to warn citizens on the official FCO travel advisory website.”
“When the FCO fails to warn people of the risks, then helps the UAE cover up their crimes while whitewashing complaints from prisoners, they make themselves complicit in human rights abuses.
“In Albert’s case, they actively tried to silence him and this makes it more than clear that their main concern is appeasing their trade partners, the people they wine and dine in Dubai, at the expense of people like Albert Douglas, Matthew Hedges and Lee Bradley Brown, who was killed in custody.
“We are reviewing legal action against the FCO with our legal team of experienced QC’s and solicitors. We believe such action will protect the lives of British citizens in the future”.