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Briton wrongly detained in Mongolia condemns treatment

Published 19/07/2015

A UK tourist visiting China has criticised the actions of the authorities
A UK tourist visiting China has criticised the actions of the authorities

A Briton wrongly detained in Mongolia on suspicion of being a terrorist has criticised authorities for a "serious error of judgment" which saw the veteran backpackers thrown out of the country.

Hoosain Jacobs, 74, was one of 20 people - including several from the UK - arrested at Mongolia's Ordos City airport during a seven-week trip to China.

It was originally thought members of the group might have been watching videos linked to propaganda or terrorism, but it has now emerged they were watching a documentary on Mongol emperor Genghis Khan.

All members of the tour group have since returned to their homelands.

In a statement, Mr Jacobs said: "I can understand that officials in Ordos wish to repair their reputation in relation to their treatment of tourists visiting their country. However, it would have been better if they had apologised instead for the serious error of judgment on their side.

"It is completely wrong of them to ascribe any sort of illicit activities to myself, or indeed to anyone else in this peaceful tour group.

"I categorically deny that anyone was charged for anything of any kind. And nobody repented or admitted to anything whatsoever, as there was no crime to repent or admit to, and no charges of any type were laid whatsoever.

"After being detained we were merely taken to the airport and asked to leave the country.

"I give an assurance that there was nothing like that and nothing was watched from anyone's cell phone. The only things watched by myself and the group was a short clip of the 10 best western cowboy films of all time and a 40-minute BBC documentary on Genghis Khan.

"These were watched from a laptop computer in our hotel.

"I think it is fairly obvious that our tour group would not have been released by senior Chinese officials had we done anything wrong.

"I don't wish to make any further comments, and as far as myself and the group is concerned this sad and unfortunate chapter is now behind us."

South-African based charity Gift of the Givers said the 20 tourists - nine Britons, 10 South Africans and one Indian - were exploring ancient China on a planned 47-day trip.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our consular staff have visited the detainees and received assurances from the Chinese government about their health and treatment."

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