Andrew Neal: British army veteran jailed in Dubai without charge issues plea to come home

'I just want to go home to the United Kingdom to be with family and friends'

Former British army veteran Andrew Neil, 44, has been held in prison in Dubai on drug handling allegations for four months despite never been charged with a crime, pressure group Detained in Dubai claims.
Former British army veteran Andrew Neil, 44, has been held in prison in Dubai on drug handling allegations for four months despite never been charged with a crime, pressure group Detained in Dubai claims.

A British army veteran jailed in Dubai for months without being charged has pleaded to come home.

Andrew Neal appealed to the British government for help in securing his return to his wife and children.

The 44-year-old, from Nottingham has spent the last four-and-a-half months in prison despite allegedly never being charged with a crime.

He was arrested at his flat in Dubai on 4 October after he was accused of handling drugs – an allegation he denies.

Legal advocacy group Detained in Dubai claims he unwittingly signed a confession admitting he handled drugs, despite denying the allegations, because allegedly it was in Arabic and he was told it reflected his denials.

Speaking from prison in an audio recording obtained by Sky News, Mr Neal said: “I have been detained for the last 140 days - four and a half months - without charge. I would have thought that the Dubai prosecutors would have released me after all allegations of being involved in this case were removed and statements to that effect were signed.

“I just want to go home to the United Kingdom to be with family and friends. I hope that the government in the UK can intervene and get me back to loved ones as soon as possible, please.”

Although no drugs were found in his possession, Detained in Dubai say Mr Neal was told someone had identified him as having handled drugs.

(Detained in Dubai

The group claims the witness then denied doing so at a court hearing in January and that his statement was officially withdrawn by prosecutors.

Mr Neal moved to Dubai in 2015 with his wife Angela and their six-year-old daughter and two-year-old son to run a dog training business.

He spent 24 years in the British Army from 1991, serving in the infantry before transferring to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps as a dog trainer and handler in 2009.

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He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on his most recent deployment to Afghanistan, the group said.

In total, he received 14 medals during 24 years in the army serving on a number of tours, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

Mr Neal’s parents Maurice and Sue said they had barely slept since their son was arrested and just “want him home”.

Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, who is representing Mr Neal, said: “It’s time for the Dubai police and prosecutors to admit their mistake and release Andrew.

"Enough damage has been done to this innocent family.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office told The Independent: “We are providing assistance to a British man following his arrest in Dubai. Our staff have visited him on several occasions and are providing updates to his family. We remain in contact with the UAE authorities regarding his case.”

The Independent has contacted the UAE’s embassy in the UK for comment.

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