Malaysian businessman remains in jail 6 months after false allegations
Richard Lau, a Malaysian national, has been held without charge for more than 6 months in the UAE. He was arrested following accusations from Walid Jumaa Abu Shabas, a local businessman, that his salary and commissions were too high, and ‘constitute embezzlement’.
No evidence has been found to prove that Richard has done anything except be paid for the work he has done, but his detention is extended every two weeks by the Public Prosecutor. In the UAE, accusations, even when unsupported by evidence, are enough to warrant arrest and detention.
Richard was employed by the Ras Al Khaimah subsidiary of Malaysian marine transport company Shin Yang. Abu Shabas accused him of stealing funds from the company, which actually constituted the remuneration for his work.
In a statement Richard’s father said, "these few months have been an absolute nightmare for us; we feel threatened and unsure about our son's safety and future. I don't understand how the UAE can just arrest my son without a warrant based on a mere complaint by a local and then detain him for months without a charge, while they take their time with investigations. Some days I cannot believe that this is really happening; that this sort of practice can still exist in today's world in a country that is so modern and advanced in other ways."
Richard’s distraught sister contacted Detained in Dubai about his ongoing detention. “The UAE detained my brother for over 6 months without a warrant or charge. This preposterous manner of arrest and detention is medieval and goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights. There appears to be no due process in the UAE when it comes to foreigners.”
This case is reflective of a wider context in which both foreigners and locals are detained on spurious charges and accusations. Such arbitrary detentions stand in stark contrast to the reputation Ras Al Khaimah attempts to build of being favourable to foreign business and investment.
Radha Stirling, director of campaign group Detained in Dubai, stated that “If Ras Al Khaimah wants to improve its standing and welcome people to the emirate either for holidays or for business. These kinds of violations of due process and human rights must be addressed. No one will be inclined to visit or invest in an environment where they do not feel safe."