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Pardoned Britons tell of ordeal

Three men who claim they were wrongly arrested, tortured and jailed in Dubai before being released last month have criticised the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the "disgusting" way they were treated.

Karl Williams, 26, and 25-year-olds Suneet Jeerh and Grant Cameron were each jailed for four years for allegedly possessing synthetic cannabis while on holiday in July last year.

They were pardoned after a campaign by their families led to Prime Minister David Cameron raising the case with Emirati president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In their first interview since returning to the UK, the three reiterated claims they were subject to beatings and electric shocks by the Dubai authorities.

Explaining how they were allegedly taken out into the desert to be tortured, Mr Jeerh, from Ilford in east London, told ITV Daybreak: "I don't want to go into it too much but they just kept on beating us, asking us names, telling us we were someone else that we were not and when they pulled the tasers out, that's it, my lights went out from there, you know? It was like a long cattle prod with a little taser bit at the end."

Mr Cameron, from Wanstead in north-east London, said that the group were aware there was a bag in the car when police arrested them, but claimed they had no idea it contained was synthetic cannabis: "We hired a rental car from a gentleman that we had met over there and we discovered a bag in the car and on inspecting it, it just seemed it was some form of packet, it said on it 'not for human consumption'. It didn't seem anything untoward in any way so we thought nothing of it and continued with our day."

He said that after their arrest they were beaten "repeatedly" for five or 10 minutes before being taken to their hotel room and beaten for another 20 minutes, adding: "We were trying to talk to them, trying to request the embassy or any form of legal representation."

Mr Williams struggled to explain how he had felt when he saw his family and young daughter for the fast time after returning to the UK. He said: "You miss your family so much and then you come back and then when you actually, finally get to see them you're actually lost for words because you've been in jail for a year and you come back and your daughter (who was 10 weeks old when he was arrested) is walking, talking."

Asked about the role of David Cameron in securing a pardon for them, Mr Williams said: "I feel obviously that helped but I think the charity Reprieve and our families who campaigned for us - we just feel privileged that we did have those people to help us because there are so many other people there who don't have that."

The UAE authorities deny the men's allegations of torture or any form of mistreatment.


From Belfast Telegraph