German national Dieter Kellouche was jailed in Sharjah for offending a Sheikh. He suffered outrageous treatment that led him to go on hunger strike. German ministers accused the government of “abandoning” Dieter, neglecting to even visit him for over a year and failing to escalate diplomatic conversations after Dieter was hospitalised with a broken foot caused by a violent cellmate.
His powerful opponent seemed to have autonomy over the court system in Sharjah with judges not even considering defence materials. “This is standard in the UAE”, explains Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai who assisted the then 42 year old. “Most lawyers won’t even represent a client against a ruler or member of the royal family. In Dieter’s case, the German government eventually provided assistance and with the media attention, the Sheikh provided a statement that he would drop the allegations but this by no means compensates Dieter for the nearly five years he spent in prison”.
Dieter is currently recovering in Germany and is relieved to finally be home. “Recovery is not instant”, explained Stirling, “after almost five years of hell, Dieter will never be the same but at least he has his family to help him get past the ordeal. Many prisoners suffer from PTSD and are afraid to even travel in the future.
“This case highlights just how backwards and corrupt the UAE judiciary can be and how susceptible to abuse visitors to the country are. Like most, Dieter never imagined this would happen to him. He had not violated the laws or committed a crime but ended up behind bars.
“We are so very pleased that Dieter is finally free and wish him and his family a speedy recovery”.