Sister of man held in UAE says 'UK is terrified of Dubai'

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The sister of an Essex man imprisoned in Dubai on charges of drug possession has criticised the Government's failure to intervene following allegations of torture in custody.

Suneet Jeerh, 25, was one of three men arrested last July after police said they had found a quantity of synthetic cannabis in their car. He alleges he has been beaten and electrocuted by police.

His sister, Davena Kumar, told The Independent on Sunday that the Government was demonstrating a "spectacular failure of conscience", as ministers prepare to welcome the UAE's President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who arrives in London on Tuesday.

"It seems like the British embassy is terrified of Dubai," she said. "Britain has a blind spot when it comes to Dubai."

Downing Street insists it continues to raise the matter with authorities in the UAE. In a letter to lawyers acting for the three men, the Government concedes the "lack of an impartial and independent medical examination remains a concern". The letter advises that their plight be raised with "the Emirati authorities" through "appropriate legal channels".

The men face charges of supplying, possessing and taking the drug – all of which they deny. Mr Jeerh will hear his verdict tomorrow.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We continue to raise these cases at senior levels in the UAE. We have also asked for a full and independent investigation. The state visit by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan will primarily be a chance to develop relations between the UK and the UAE.

"There will be opportunities to raise a range of issues, including concerns about these cases."