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PM's help sought to free tortured Briton held in UAE

DAVID Cameron was urged yesterday to help free a young British man jailed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after admitting drug offences under torture.

Legal charity Reprieve wrote to the Prime Minister about the plight of 21-year-old Ahmad Zeidan, who faces a nine-year stretch in Sharjah prison after being arrested by the city’s police in December and charged with drug offences.

He was hooded, beaten and threatened with rape in the week following his arrest.

“They just arrested me (and started) beating me … for eight days, my family didn’t know where I was,” he told the BBC from prison last week.

Mr Zeidan was then forced to sign documents in Arabic — which he does not understand — that were used to convict him last month.

In her letter to Mr Cameron, Reprieve director Maya Foa calls it a “scandal that he has been convicted to a lengthy prison sentence on the basis of a ‘confession’ which was effectively beaten out of him.”

Ms Foa also raised the alarm about prosecutors’ plans to increase the sentence faced by the British man from Berkshire.

“The Prime Minister must intervene as soon as possible to secure justice for him before it’s too late, and tell the UAE to investigate its endemic torture problem,” she said.

The call follows Mr Cameron’s intervention to secure the release of three Britons tortured and held in Dubai by raising their case directly with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.

The Foreign Office said it was providing consular assistance.


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