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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

British soldier is CLEARED after spending a year in UAE prisons on false drugs charges

As the #UAE desperately tries to spread their government sponsored propaganda, we highlight the case of Andy Neal, who was forced to confess. The #Dubai police alleged they had a witness against him but it was a police incentivised informant who later retracted his statement saying "wrong Andy". After a horrendous year in jail, separated from his family, the PTSD sufferer was finally exonerated. Is that justice though? There are no witnesses against Billy Hood. #FreeBillyHood #DetainedinDubai

  • He spent five months in a Dubai jail before being transferred to al-Sadr prison

  • Al-Sadr is a maximum security prison with tiny cells in neighbouring Abu Dhabi

  • Police had no evidence to convict Mr Neal and based their arrest on hearsay

"Campaign group Detained in Dubai, who worked to secure Andy's release, said the move was aimed at avoiding embarrassment over the botched investigation.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said: 'His treatment by the UAE is disgraceful. Andy and his family's lives have been turned upside-down because the Dubai police and Public Prosecutor cannot admit that his arrest was a mistake from the beginning.

'The British government has conspicuously failed to stand up for Andy, though he risked his life to stand up for the United Kingdom for over 20 years.

The Foreign Office has provided no support for him and his family, and the Foreign Secretary has been silent. In these circumstances, Andy's only recourse is to the United Nations.

'It is outrageous that mere accusation is sufficient in the United Arab Emirates for someone to be treated as guilty; and even more outrageous that proof of innocence can be blatantly disregarded just to protect the professional reputations of those in law enforcement, when a man's life and freedom are on the line.' He was visited by a doctor over concerns about his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the former soldier was bluntly told 'it was all in his head.' Andy, who was awarded 17 medals and a bravery commendation during his two decades in the army, was allowed to see his wife once a week while being held in Abu Dhabi. The family enlisted the help of their local MP and Andy's former commanding officer in an attempt to get the Government involved and put pressure on the UAE to speed up his release. A spokesman for London based Guernica 37 Chambers said: 'It is argued on his behalf in the Communication to the UN that this decision to transfer the case to Abu Dhabi is clearly a politically motivated decision on behalf of the Public Prosecutor, given that he is reportedly seeking promotion.

'To release Mr. Neal now would mean that his department would be forced to admit fault, whereas by transferring the case to Abu Dhabi, it is no longer his responsibility.

'Whilst in custody, Mr. Neal has been denied his prescribed medication to treat his diagnosed PTSD following his final tour of Afghanistan. The visiting psychiatrist chose to interrogate Mr. Neal rather than provide any counselling.

The protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms ought to go beyond the political posturing of national states; human rights are universal, they are not dependent on diplomatic, trade or military allegiance, and yet governments consistently allow such factors to blinker their policies to the detriment of individuals, rather than discharge their obligation to humanity.

In filing this petition of complaint, Guernica urges the UN Special Procedures Branch to circumstances of Mr. Neal's detention, to conduct an inspection of the conditions of his custody and examine the on-going ill-treatment with a view to securing his immediate release and exoneration.'"


More related resources, media and useful links:

Due Process International

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