British tourists held on drug charges in Dubai 'denied UK lawyers'

A lawyer claims she was refused access to men who allege they were ‘tortured’ in jail

Two British men who allege they were beaten and electrocuted after being imprisoned in Dubai on drugs charges have been refused access to UK lawyers ahead of a trial hearing tomorrow, it has been claimed.

The legal charity Reprieve said its lawyer and investigator were refused access to Grant Cameron and Karl Williams despite numerous attempts.  A third defendant, Suneer Jeerh, who is held in a different jail, was allowed to see the charity’s representatives.

The men, all aged 25, were arrested during a holiday last July after police said they found a quantity of a synthetic cannabis known as “spice” in their car. They face charges of supplying, possessing, and taking the drug. Mr Cameron and Mr Williams, from Wanstead, east London, and Mr Jeerh, from Essex, deny the drug charges.

The men were arrested at Dubai Marina yacht club, a popular drinking spot for British expatriates, after a tip off to the police’s anti-narcotics division.  The men claim they have since been beaten, threatened with guns and forced to sign documents in Arabic, a language none speak.

In a statement circulated by Reprieve, Mr Williams claimed he was driven into the desert and tortured before being taken back to his room in the Media Rotana hotel, where a policemen allegedly placed a towel over his head, electric shocks were then administered to his testicles before a gun was pointed at his head. Authorities in Dubai dispute the claims.

Representatives of Reprieve have seen each of the men since their arrest, but investigator Kate Higham and lawyer Marc Callcutt said they made two further attempts to visit Mr Cameron and  Mr Williams on 25 and 27 March, which were rejected. They were allowed to see Mr Jeerh, who is held in a different jail.

At tomorrow’s trial hearing they will be represented by Dubai lawyers.

The “spice” drug was made illegal in the United Arab Emirates just nine days before the men’s arrests last July. A subsequent crackdown in the country reportedly lead to 35 Britons arrested within just 24 hours.

Ms Higham said tonight: “The UAE must release these men and conduct a full investigation into their torture without delay.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed it had been providing “consular assistance” to the men. “The FCO takes all allegations of mistreatment and torture extremely seriously,” a spokesman added.

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