For Immediate Release
Alice Gillham in Reprieve’s press office: email@example.com / 0207 335 8160
British Student Tortured in UAE to Face Sentence Tomorrow
LONDON - A court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expected to rule tomorrow (Thursday 25 Sept) on a British student’s appeal against his conviction, which was based on a ‘confession’ extracted through torture.
Ahmad Zeidan (21), from Berkshire, was arrested on 13 December 2013 in the Emirate of Sharjah, which borders Dubai. He was beaten by police officers, hooded, stripped and threatened with rape, before being forced to sign documents in Arabic, a language he cannot read. Those documents were subsequently used against him in his prosecution on drugs charges.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has told legal charity Reprieve, which is assisting Mr Zeidan, that the Government takes the reports of torture “extremely seriously.”
The Sharjah public prosecutor is seeking a harsher sentence for Mr Zeidan, who initially faced charges carrying the death penalty. There are concerns that tomorrow’s sentence could be significantly longer than his current sentence of nine years.
Mr Zeidan’s health is reported to have deteriorated amid poor conditions in prison; he recently reported having coughed up blood, and has been refused access to a doctor.
Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “It is hard to believe that, having tortured Ahmad into a bogus confession, the UAE authorities are now seeking to increase his unjust sentence. The UK must urge the UAE to release Ahmad without delay, and put an end to the systematic and brutal torture of its prisoners."
FRIENDS: Help Us Fight
Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder
Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.