Gay British man battles extradition to Dubai
A gay man is fighting extradition to the United Arab Emirates, as he fears he will be tortured, beaten and starved if forced to return.
The case of Michael Halliday – who faces a theft charge in Dubai – is due to be decided by Westminster magistrates court this week.
Hailliday – who denies the accusation – says he is terrified he will face “unfair prejudice” if made to stand trial in the UAE – where consensual gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“I’m extremely worried. If I was sent back I don’t believe I could defend myself in court or have a fair trial,” Halliday told The Guardian.
“The fact that I’m openly gay would mean that there would be prejudice against me.”
“If I was found guilty then I’m worried they would add on extra charges and increase my sentence,” he added.
“The punishment [for being gay] is death in the UAE and 10 years in Dubai.”
Halliday’s legal team echoed their client’s statement, saying he is highly unlikely to receive a fair trial if extradited.
“There is the additional real risk of torture prolonging the pre-trial period of incarceration and his ability to participate in any trial,” Halliday’s barrister, Ben Cooper, said.
The court has also been informed that over the past five years there have been 43 cases of complaints by British nationals of torture or mistreatment within the UAE justice system.
37 of those related to British nationals detained in Dubai and 19 of them alleged they had suffered physical beatings.
According to legal papers submitted by Halliday’s lawyers, letters from the Foreign Office state: “25 allegations were of physical assaults – these ranged from a slap to repeated assault.
“Other complaints included forced confessions and deprivation of food, water and use of toilet.”
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In addition, Halliday’s legal team claim that an independent expert sent to the country by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), was refused access to inspect prison conditions in order to asses their suitability.
However, the accused’s solicitor says that even though it was refused access, the CPS has accepted the UAE’s assurances that their is nothing wrong with conditions in the prison.
“We are disappointed that the CPS has accepted what the UAE says about its penal policy on the assurance that there’s nothing wrong with the conditions without being allowed to check for themselves,” claimed Jonathan Black.
The CPS declined to comment about whether it had been given access to prison facilities in Dubai.
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