“It is impossible for investment ambassadors to promote the UAE without criticism, while there are very serious incidences of human rights abuses against foreign nationals, especially investors, in Dubai”, said Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Gulf Investment Monitor.
“Over the past decade, investors have been targeted by authorities, by the government and by private individuals who would rather persecute the foreigner, than see them actually profit from their investment”. Stirling is an expert witness who has helped in numerous cases involving the targeting of innocent British investors and entrepreneurs. “It is absolutely abysmal to see Dubai’s proceeds from the theft of British investments, being used to market the centre to more future victims. Dubai hides behind a facade, covered up by glitzy events and public relations endeavours, but the truth is, successful investors are at great risk of being targeted as a means to misappropriate their wealth. The consequences include wrongful detention, forced confessions, human rights violations and even torture.
“Albert is a sixty year old grandfather who has been detained in Dubai over bounced cheques he didn’t write and for a company’s debts that he didn’t own. André Gauthier was held for six years before being completely exonerated, but abuse still continues. Albert has been denied his heart medication, beaten and forced to drink from a toilet forcet. Why? Because he was seen as a wealthy entrepreneur to be looted and milked”.
Albert’s family has called for the boycotting of Dubai Expo, lobbying in front of Parliament last week, “Do not invest in a country or be involved in the promotion of a country who would treat British citizens as worthless animals to be used, robbed and discarded. The legal system offers no protection. The courts won’t even hear evidence of innocence and won’t bother to conduct forensics that would exonerate their target”, said Wolfgang Douglas, Albert’s son.
Albert’s detention has attracted a significant amount of support with Baroness Whitaker and Andy Slaughter, MP calling for increased travel warnings and sanctions against the UAE for the ongoing inhumane treatment of British nationals abroad. In a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two MP’s said:
On the matter of the FCO travel warnings, we reviewed the advice before making the recommendation for amendments. While the current advice outlines the law in relation to bounced cheques and other financially related crimes, it provides no insight into the core issues that result in the unfair detention of British citizens abroad.
The UAE has been highlighted for unfair trials, forced confessions, lengthy and unfair detentions, human rights violations, torture and even a death in custody. The English courts cite the reasons for denying extradition being ‘unfair trials, discrimination and the real risk of human rights violations and torture’. This in itself, confirms the lack of due process in Dubai. The fact that a British citizen can be wrongfully accused of a crime, arrested, held without charge for lengthy periods of time, forced to confess and convicted without evidence then subsequently beaten or tortured, should warrant the FCO to issue a severe warning. we urge you and the FCO to include these additional warnings on the website. This, in our belief, will protect the lives and safety of our citizens and encourage the UAE to improve conditions in the future.”
The UAE Ambassador to the UK agreed to discuss the issues in “Autumn”, but said he was “shocked” to hear allegations of torture. Stirling responded, “the UAE’s Ambassador can not be shocked to hear allegations of human rights abuses, not when we have seen a death in custody, multiple United Nations allegations, Matthew Hedges’ lawsuit and the British courts refusing extradition based on torture. The UAE has attacked a US yacht in international waters, kidnapped a princess from UK soil, and is known for harbouring criminals, for money laundering and Iran sanction violations. The Ambassador’s response rings like MBS saying ‘he had no idea’ about Khashoggi’s execution.
“We have written to the UK UAE Business Council and investment groups, as well as Lord Udny-Lister to advise them of these serious and well documented risks to investors and of their complicity in promoting a country to British citizens who affords no protection”.
“The British government and foreign office has done nothing to help my father”, said Wolfgang Douglas, who is devastated that his father may die in prison. Albert’s wife hand delivered an emotional plea to Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.
Hundreds of British nationals have criticised the FCDO for turning away from their own countrymen in favour of a more profitable relationship with the Gulf nation. “This has to stop”, added Wolfgang. “How many more citizens do we need to see beaten, tortured or killed, before prominent names like Lord Udny-Lister stop promoting the country. The UK government must stand up for Albert or else we are giving the green light to abuse individuals whose lives seem to mean nothing in that country. My father loved the UAE and worked very hard, but the more successful you become, the more at risk of abuse you are. Investors need to know that the UAE is the riskiest place in the world to do business.
“Please do not support the Dubai Expo. Supporting Dubai’s expo will put people’s lives at risk”.