Daughters mount embassy protest to free their father from Dubai prison

British millionaire serving seven-year sentence is victim of miscarriage of justice, family say

The young daughters of a millionaire British businessman jailed in Dubai over a bounced cheque have launched a protest demanding his release outside the UAE embassy in London.

Safi Qurashi, from south London, who paid $60m for the UK "island" in Dubai's $14bn World development, was given a seven-year jail sentence in February last year for bouncing cheques.

His business partner and accountant were also jailed for what is considered a severe crime in Dubai.

Mr Qurashi, who showed off his plans for the 4.5 hectare island on a Piers Morgan-hosted TV programme, had hoped for an early release last Tuesday.

In a report written by Tarique Ghaffur, a former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, earlier this year, Mr Qurashi and his colleagues were said to be victims of a miscarriage of justice.

Investigations have revealed that the value of two of the cheques, related to a land deal with a Russian tycoon, had in fact been paid. The third, which involved the World islands of Iraq and Moscow, was shown to have been cancelled rather than bounced. Nevertheless, a judge in Dubai's Court of First Instance upheld the sentence. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is now looking into the case and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, is being kept abreast of developments.

Mr Qurashi's children, 13-year-old Sara and Maaria, 10, started their protest yesterday accompanied by a dozen family members. Within minutes of their arrival, the UAE embassy called the police, although the protest was allowed to continue.

Sara, who established the website justiceformydad.com last year, said: "My dad was worried about us coming over [to Britain], but he has supported me a lot. He told us that soon this will all be over."

The children will be outside the embassy, with their many placards and a book crammed with names of members of the public supporting their campaign, from 9am to 4pm for 30 days. They will then return to school in Dubai.

The family have requested a meeting with Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister. He is expected to reply next week.

If Mr Burt does meet them, the family will ask for the British government to arrange for them to talk directly to the ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, from whom they will seek a pardon for Mr Qurashi.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £38,000

£22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...

Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

£17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Health & Safety Support Tutor

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Assistant

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests