British Dubai tourist 'choked on vomit'

A British tourist who died in police custody in Dubai choked on his own vomit, the Gulf emirate's attorney-general said today.

Lee Brown, 39, was arrested after being accused of physically and verbally abusing a female member of staff at the luxury Burj Al Arab hotel, the local authorities said.

He died on Tuesday amid claims that officers punched and kicked him during his time in custody at Bur Dubai police station.

Dubai attorney-general Issam Al Humaidan said a post-mortem examination found Mr Brown's death was caused by suffocation after vomit leaked into his respiratory tract.

Offering condolences to the Briton's family, he stressed in a statement that police in the emirate dealt with prisoners with respect and were "governed by the highest standards to preserve human rights".

British diplomats and human rights campaigners demanded a thorough investigation into the tragedy.

Mr Brown's family in Dagenham, east London, were told he had allegedly suffered severe beatings in custody after another prisoner found their contact details on a photocopy of his passport left in a cell, the Daily Mail reported.

His relatives contacted the British Embassy in Dubai with their concerns about his safety.

But UK officials who visited the police station were told he did not want to meet them, according to the founder of a support group for alleged victims of injustice in the United Arab Emirates.

Radha Stirling, from London-based Detained In Dubai, said: "Really, they should have been able to see him to make sure he was in a good condition, whether or not he wanted to speak to them.

"It does look like he was in a bad condition and the police didn't want the embassy to see him. It's quite a failure of process."

She said other people held at Bur Dubai police station had told her it was known for its filthy cells, harsh conditions and violent attacks on prisoners.

Mr Brown was said to be on a last-minute holiday at the Burj Al Arab, which describes itself as "the world's most luxurious hotel" and where room prices start at more than £1,000 a night.

Hotel operator Jumeirah Group said in a statement: "We are aware of this issue and understand it is being handled by the relevant authorities. We therefore have no further comment.

"For privacy reasons, it is our policy not to disclose any details or information about guests who stay in our hotels."

Dubai police said Mr Brown had no bruises or marks indicating an assault when he died, according to The National newspaper in neighbouring Abu Dhabi.

An unnamed police official told the paper: "These reports in the media that he was beaten by police are a pack of lies."

The official added that the British tourist began vomiting the day before his death but did not complain or ask for medical help.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before