Dubai authorities pledge to release British great grandfather
72 year old great grandfather William Meyerhoff was arrested en route to Australia over bounced cheque allegations from a company he worked for over a decade ago. UAE diplomats promised to release him, saying “we sometimes make mistakes”.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai who is representing William, has passed on the promising news to William’s son Matthew this morning, who lives in Australia. “William was amazed to hear the good news that authorities had promised to release his father”, said Stirling, “It was the first he had heard, despite the British Embassy having been in contact with him yesterday”.
“William was locked up with fellow British grandfather Albert Douglas who has also been detained over bounced cheques he didn’t write. Albert had been caring for William who also suffers dementia and was struggling in the prison when the two were taken from the cell and brought to a luxury two bedroom apartment within the prison, designed for VIP’s and Sheikhs who are jailed.”
Albert relayed that he was brought into the two bedroom apartment with a lounge room and television and asked “do you like your new quarters? There is a phone over there if you want to tell anyone about your new living conditions”. Albert thought he was en route to freedom and might even get a good sleep for once. He called his son Wolfgang, but had to hang up when several “diplomats and important people” entered the room.
Several men, dressed in the traditional kandura told Albert he had been brought here because they saw him as William’s carer. Despite his broken bones, Albert had been assisting William who was not able to take care of himself. “We are going to release William, sometimes we get it wrong”. They thanked Albert for his assistance and dashed his hopes of release when he was sent back to the “hell hole” he has been enduring for the past nine months. “Will you look at my case?” Albert pleaded, “What is your case?” Albert explained that the cheques he had been accused of writing had been proven by forensics to be unrelated to him. He explained that the court appointed experts in parallel civil cases had removed him from the proceedings as irrelevant which in essence, exonerated him from the criminal proceedings against him. Son Wolfgang said “my father’s been beaten to the point where his shoulder was dislocated, his fingers are broken and he has multiple surgeries scheduled. He’s done nothing wrong but has suffered grave human rights abuses. It’s astonishing that our government is happy to continue letting the UAE promote itself as a safe country to British nationals while at the same time, we have Baroness Whitaker, literally saying ‘The UAE is not safe for British nationals’.
My father genuinely thought he might be released when he arrived at this apartment. His hopes were dashed. It’s been a rollercoaster ride from the beginning. He thought when forensics proved his innocence, he’d be released. He thought when the court experts proved his innocence, he’d be released. Nobody should have to go through what he’s gone through and what our family has”.
William’s son was so grateful to hear the news that his father may be home soon, saying to Stirling “We had kind of lost hope. We didn’t think he’d ever get home. In fact, we didn’t expect we would ever see him again. We had resigned ourselves to preparing for the worst given his health condition. We are extremely grateful that the UAE authorities have made this promise and are desperate to see him home. He will have to be quarantined in Australia for two weeks when he arrives but we will try to get a doctor to help him. Thank you so much for this wonderful news.”
Talking of the future of UAE-UK relations, Ms Stirling explained, “We still have Albert and Billy in Dubai’s jails and we’d like to get them home too. Christmas is coming up, Dubai’s expo is in full swing and it seems like an ideal time to resolve these cases for all concerned.
“Ultimately, there are changes that need to be made for the long term that would make the UAE a safer place for foreign nationals to travel to and invest in. We are preparing our recommendations for Dubai’s government and hope that not too far in the future, individuals will be cared for as much as diplomatic relations between governments. We have hope that the UAE will take our recommendations seriously and initiate a more cooperative relationship in the future”.
Detained in Dubai: http://www.detainedindubai.org
Radha Stirling: http:///www.radhastirling.com
Due Process International http://www.dueprocess.international