Statement of Radha Stirling, founder of London based NGO Detained in Dubai who have recently surpassed their ten year anniversary:
"Middle Eastern travel, investment and expat hotspot Dubai has been intently campaigning for British nationals to come to the emirate. With major public relations investment, the United Arab Emirates has become a popular destination. But, despite its international image as the 'Las Vegas' of the Middle East, when we sift through the propaganda and glossy brochures, we see a country that remains seriously risky for unsuspecting foreigners. According to recent analysis, The UAE remains, on a percentage scale, the most likely country for British nationals to be detained in.
"Recent high profile cases like that of Jamie Harron and Billy Barclay, have highlighted in the mainstream media, just how easy it is for citizens to experience the darker side of Dubai. A number of cases have also highlighted the mistreatment of women, some of whom have been arrested for “sex outside marriage” after reporting their own rapes (see: Roxanne Hillier, Alicia Gali). Expats are being jailed when their employment is terminated because of small credit card debts, and businesspeople and investors have been wrongfully jailed as a means to steal their investments or to shift blame from local business partners' misappropriation of company assets (see: Marcus Lee, Mohammad Haddad etc.). While on the surface, the country has a constitution, legislation and rules of law, the reality is that these are not adhered to. British nationals have been detained without charge for durations in excess of one year and abused while in detention.
"Countless reports of torture, abuse and human rights violations have been reported and some victims have sued rulers in other jurisdictions while others have applied to the United Nations for rulings on their own complaints of torture. Lee Bradley Brown, a British national, died in police custody with allegations of police brutality, with the UAE declining to cooperate with investigative requests from English courts.
"English and Scottish courts refuse to extradite citizens to the UAE on the basis of 'the real risk of human rights violations, torture and unfair trials'. London is called the 'eighth emirate' and the UK has substantial financial, trade, investment, economic and political alliances with the UAE but reports on the mistreatment of British nationals can no longer be ignored in favour of such ties. If the English courts have ruled that the UAE would fail to provide fair trials, would violate the human rights of British nationals and would torture citizens, the country can no longer be considered a safe place to visit, reside in or invest in.
"Very serious allegations have been made against the ruler of Dubai just in the past few days, by none other than his own daughter, and subsequently, that daughter fled the country, and has now disappeared after reporting gunshots off the coast of Goa (see: Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa and friend mysteriously go missing off Goa coast after posting chilling YouTube video). There is a complaint at the UN and a call for an international investigation. All of this has ramifications on the political and economic future of Dubai, which has been led by Sheikh Mohammed for many years. The fallout of this story has the potential to deeply damage his position in the international community, and as the ruler of the emirate, unless proven to be false by an independent investigation. When you see members of the next generation of the ruling family fleeing the country, that does not bode well for the future."
Video released after Sheikha Latifa's disappearance