The recent victories in the case of Farhad Azima against the criminal activities of the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) and former attorneys of Dechert LLP, come after years of litigation support, media outreach and investigations, coordinated between the Azima legal team and Detained in Dubai.
“We are proud of our contribution in this case, helping not only to vindicate Mr. Azima, but also to expose the entrenched corruption and criminality of RAKIA, which includes unlawful detentions, torture, intimidation of witnesses, and other grave human rights violations,” Detained in Dubai Founder and CEO Radha Stirling said after RAKIA abandoned their defence in a UK trial and offered a million-dollar settlement to Azima.
“For well over a decade, Shekih Saud bin Saqr Al Qassimi, the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, has operated like a mafia don,” She continued, “His Dechert lawyers acted as henchmen and fully participated in criminal abuses of power; believing they were above the law”. It has been established that Neil Gerard of Dechert LLP hired India-based tech firm CyberRoot Risk Advisory Private Ltd, through an intermediary, to hack Mr. Azima’s emails to illegally obtain evidence they could use to tarnish his reputation and to vacate a previous judgment that required RAKIA to pay him $3.7 million. Based on the hacked emails, RAKIA indeed won in court, and did not have to pay the earlier settlement.
“Overwhelmed by the proof of Dechert’s wrongdoing, RAKIA has basically confessed,” Stirling explained, “They have offered Mr. Azima a $1 million settlement, but he has refused and instead launched a counterclaim to invalidate the judgement based on the hacked emails, so that RAKIA will again be required to honour the original $3.7 million settlement of 2016.”
Once Detained in Dubai became involved in Azima’s case, they were able to cross-reference the relevant players in Ras Al Khaimah, and provide his legal team with crucial background and a wealth of new evidence. “We have dealt with multiple cases in Ras Al Khaimah, particularly those connected to RAKIA and the conduct of Dechert’s lawyers working for Sheikh Saud,” Stirling said, “We are very familiar with characters like Neil Gerard, who has been implicated in serious human rights violations involving our other clients; and we have documented a litany of abuses committed by Sheikh Saud. When Mr. Azima’s team contacted us, suffice it to say, we were well-equipped to support the litigation.”
Radha Stirling has distinguished herself as the preeminent expert on the UAE and is frequently consulted by leaders in government and the private sector, as well as appearing regularly in the media to discuss legal, political, and economic issues related to the Gulf. She has expanded her work through the creation of Due Process International which supports victims of legal abuse across the globe; as well as lobbied for Interpol and extradition reform through her organisation IPEX.
“What we were able to bring to the Azima case exemplifies the unique basket of skills and expertise we have assembled in these 3 organisations over the past 13 years” Stirling reflected, “We offer a hybrid of PR and media strategy prowess, combined with legal knowledge, geopolitical and economic savvy, and access to a broad network of professionals, academics, NGOs, and experts across fields from law and human rights, to media, to government. We are glad that we were able to assist in this case, and will continue to support Mr. Azima moving forward. In our experience, the UAE does not self-correct; without persistent pressure and exposure of abuses, their default posture is one of defiance and intransigence. But reforms and improvements can be made over time as long as we remain diligent and pursue justice through every possible channel.”