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Dubai police refuse to let British woman fly to UK for cancer treatment

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3 years 6 months

Dubai police refuse to let British woman fly to UK for cancer treatment

Police in Dubai are refusing to handover a passport confiscated from a British woman who needs to fly back to the UK for urgent cancer treatment.

The clock is ticking for Luisa Williams who was diagnosed with advanced stage three kidney cancer out of the blue less than two weeks ago when she went to hospital with back pain.

She is now bleeding profusely - and needs the organ removed before it either bursts or the cancer becomes stage four and is irreversible.

Luisa, 41, arranged to see a specialist for life-saving treatment for the aggressive malignant cancer in Nottingham on Monday - but is now set to miss the meeting.

She has been forced to cancel a flight booked home to the UK tomorrow after authorities refused to handover her passport to her lawyers this morning without explanation.

The businesswoman fears that volunteer work she does helping children imprisoned in the UAE has made her enemies.

Speaking from a friend's house, Luisa told MirrorOnline: "I've no idea what is going on. I need my right kidney, ureter and part of my bladder removing immediately as the cancer has invaded them.

"If my kidney bursts my health could be severely comprimised.

"I've never done anything wrong and I'm being treated like a murderer.

"I think there's a chance I've annoyed someone high up."

Luisa - who goes by the nickname Lola Lopez - is originally from Yorkshire but has lived in the United Arab Emirates for the last 10 years.

She has been involved in a legal dispute with Dubai authorities for the last 12 months.

Luisa claims that it began in 30 December 2015 when she was suddenly held over a Facebook post.

She was interrogated for 10 hours, refused a translator and forced to sign a five page document she could not understand in Arabic.

It was at this point that her passport was taken from her.

The criminal charges that were subsequently brought against her - and which she strenuously denied - related to alleged financial fraud.

The charges were in connection with a not-for-profit group she ran in Dubai called Volunteers in UAE - which finds people to do anything from clean up a beach to help clothe special needs children.

On this occasion the organisation was trying to help save the lives of two young boys who needed an operation.

Luisa has been in and out of court numerous times - often handcuffed and held in court cells - in the last year and she eventually took the case to the Supreme Court and essentially won, after being found not guilty on most charges.

Luisa was however found guilty of a "misdemeanour charge" relating to her allegedly asking for donations on social media for "two little boys who need surgery".

Unlike in the UK - where people regularly appeal for money on websites like JustGiving and GoFundMe - using the Internet to raise money or running any kind of charity is illegal in Dubai.

Luisa strenuously denies asking for any donations on social media - saying: "it's categorically not what I have done" - claiming that the Facebook post in question presented to the court was mistranslated in Arabic.

Luisa, pictured left, founded Babies Behind Bars which has helped scores of children
She was told she would be deported for the misdemeanour charge - which she has been waiting for happen.

In the meantime she claims over the legal battles in the last year she lost her consultancy company she'd built up over a decade - plus her home, her savings and her relationship with her partner.

"Everything has gone to s*** because I tried to help two little boys," Luisa explains.

"I have gone from a successful businesswoman to living out of a suitcase."

Then, a week last Thursday, she was diagnosed with cancer and discovered she urgently needed treatment which is estimated to cost 100,000 Dirhams.

Because she has lost all her money and her health insurance with the closure of her company, she says, her only hope is the NHS in the UK.

Luisa - who also founded group called Babies Behind Bars which has helped 243 children get out of jail - said: "I'm internally bleeding. The cancer is on the outer edge of my kidney - it could burst any minute.

"I'm told I need it removed - along with part of my bladder and ureter - and I am worried if I am arrested that they won't get me to hospital fast enough if it bursts.

"My symptoms are acute and I could suffer severe hemorrhaging of the kidney at any time that could bleed into my lower spine.

"My doctors are concerned that any time in detention could put me at a lot of risk given how difficult it would be to get me to an ER."

"I have contributed to this country for 10 years and don't know why they would treat like this - I have obviously upset someone."

A friend of Luisa's who is a surgeon in the UK arranged for her to see an oncologist in Nottingham on Monday - but she is now worried she won't make it to see them in time.

Police - presented with medical documents showing how severely ill Luisa is - refused to handover the passport to Luisa's lawyers at a meeting this morning.

They told her lawyers that she must go through a process that could take several weeks - and could involve her sleeping on a floor at the airport as she waits to be deported, with no easy access to medical treatment if something happens.

Luisa said: "The process could take three weeks - I don't have three weeks."

In a Facebook post on Sunday she stood resolute, writing: "The day cancer chose to pick me, I’m glad it did and not a mother, or a child, or an elderly person alone.

"I am strong, I am a fighter and I will be able to figure out how to deal with this one way or another."

Luisa's lawyers have contacted the British Embassy in Dubai.

MirrorOnline has contacted the Foreign Office for comment.

Luisa has also contacted the MP who represents the constituency where her mother lives in the Isle of Wight, Andrew Turner, who is assisting.



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