Detained Scottish man acquitted, what about the rest?
After allegedly attempting to exchange a fake £20 note during a family holiday to the UAE last September, William Barclay was facing up to a year in prison. Last month, upon his return to the UAE on another holiday, he was taken into custody for three days and his passport was confiscated.
In 2016, at the Al Hamra Mall in Ras Al Khaimah, Mr Barclay was quizzed by detectives for 12 hours after trying to exchange money. He was accused of possession of counterfeit cash but no charges were made, and he resumed his family holiday. On September the 15th this year, upon his visit to Dubai with his wife Monique and two children, Mr. Barclay was detained again.
A charity representing the Edinburgh man disclosed that he is due to fly home, on Thursday. Ms. Fleming described the last three weeks as being “absolutely horrendous,” in a statement to BBC Scotland.
She explained that the waiting was a real struggle, oscillating between hoping to get him home and doubts to reach this objective: “You browse the internet and you come across horror stories about what has happened to people over there and that makes the waiting a hundred times more difficult.”
She further explained that his detention affected the entire family, helplessly trying everything from phoning embassies to contacting MPs. Despite their best efforts, they received “no answers whatsoever,” and Billy was not allowed any visitors.
Radha Stirling, who is representing Mr Barclay, confessed that Mr. Barclay was really lucky, for if it were not for international support and publicity he could have been held for much longer - months, years even - unfortunately this has been the case with other British Nationals.
Mr Barclay is, indeed, not an isolated instance, and as his lawyer admitted he is actually one of the lucky ones amid the UAE’s surge in arrests and extradition requests. According to Radha Stirling of Detained in Dubai, figures expose a shocking trend in abusive practices including but not restricted to: sudden arrests, false detentions and a rise in mafia style agencies working as debt collectors for UAE banks.
The UAE is misusing Interpol as an instrument for enforcing commercial agreements; with little protection provided by from their countries, a growing number of British, American, and European Nationals face treatment of international fugitives within their own home countries.
Ms. Stirling explains that this is but a case in point illustrating how “the abusive legal system of the UAE and its everyday human rights abuses, is beginning to stretch, reaching Europe.”
The latest figures compiled by “Detained in Dubai,” and their legal partners, reveal a sharp rise in UAE extradition requests being acted upon in Europe. Such practice afflicts tremendous hardships on those affected, disrupting their lives, sometimes irreversibly.
Just last week, for instance, such arrests took place in England- over a UAE request; in Poland too, a UK National was arrested and is being held while he waits for the outcome of an extradition hearing.
These are but illustrative examples among many other victims of this pattern resulting from the abuse of power UAE and the failure of the other countries to keep UAE practices in check. Thus far, 100% of people sought by the UAE for extradition from Europe are eventually, released.
Grave concerns about human rights abuses in the UAE have been voiced by UK and European courts, thus making extraditions almost wane in importance. By extraditing people from Europe, the UAE is effectively intimidating people in their home countries.
One is compelled to wonder why the UK government turns a blind eye to UAE transgressions; thus giving priority to UAE business interests over welfare of its own citizens stuck in UAE's appalling unjust system.