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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive - Hair & Beauty - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company supplies the ultim...

Recruitment Genius: Design, Marketing and Media Manager

£27000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

£17447 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is a leading centre fo...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Case Handler

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler is requi...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence