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UAE: 'Torture confession' student sentenced to 9 years' imprisonment

A TWENTY-YEAR-OLD British student has been jailed for nine years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a “confession” under torture, legal charity Reprieve revealed yesterday.

Ahmad Zeidan, from Berkshire, was arrested by Sharjah police in December 2013 and held incommunicado for several days, during which time he was hooded, beaten, and threatened with rape, according to Reprieve.

Mr Zeidan was also forced to sign documents in Arabic — a language he cannot read — which were subsequently used against him during his trial on jumped-up drugs charges. 

A dossier submitted last week to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture by Reprieve on behalf of 19 prisoners details a pattern of torture in UAE prisons that includes hooding, beatings, threats of rape, and long periods of solitary confinement.

Reprieve investigator Kate Higham said: “This sentence, based on Ahmad’s ‘confession’ under torture, is the result of a shockingly flawed trial process. Sadly, Ahmad’s case is just one of many that point to the systematic use of police torture in the UAE and its acceptance by the authorities.

"The UAE must urgently reconsider Ahmad’s case, while the British government must do all it can to push for his release.”

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