UN to investigate Romany businessman Albert Douglas’ continued torture in Dubai
“It’s trade deals and money before the rights of my father imprisoned and tortured in Dubai” - Wolfgang Douglas slams Foreign Secretary Liz Truss for failing to remember his father’s case
The case of the Gypsy businessman Albert Douglas, tortured and detained in Dubai for a crime he didn’t commit, is set to be investigated by the United Nations as his son slams the UK government for their failure to help free him.
The UN Human Rights Council will also be investigating the cases of two other UK citizens detained in Dubai, and Wolfgang Douglas, Albert’s son, hope that his fathers’ case will be heard by the end of this month. A successful hearing, Wolfgang hopes, will add to the pressure on the Dubai authorities to let his father go home.
Albert was charged by the Dubai authorities after his son’s separate business failed. His family begged him not to go back to Dubai, but he did because he believed he was innocent and that this would be proven in a Dubai court of law. “What we realise now,” says Wolfgang Douglas, “is that Dubai does not have a rule of law as we know it, it is a corrupt system, and my innocent father was charged, imprisoned and while he was in prison the assets of his company were stripped by fraudulent claims from other Dubai predator businessmen in a system known over there as ‘Wasta’.
“Even the Dubai authorities now admit that they have tortured my father, and that they did torture him is proven,” said Wolfgang Douglas.
"My father now has bolts and pins in his arm, his hand is still broken in four places, his back is damaged, he has headaches and blackouts and he will need to be in a wheelchair for life,” says Wolfgang Douglas adding that the injuries are all from being beaten and tortured by prison guards and security officials.
The Dubai authorities started to treat his father’s injuries, says Wolfgang Douglas, but the treatment stopped when he refused to record a ‘hostage video’ for them thanking the Dubai authorities.
Albert Douglas was also nearly sent back to the infamous Al Anain “hell-hole” prison in the United Arab Emirates for ‘assessment’ – the prison where he was first detained and tortured a year and a half ago before being transferred to Dubai.
“My father expected he would be killed if transferred to Al Ain prison where he was beaten to the point of permanent disability and broken bones. We had to swing into action before it was too late”, explained his son Wolfgang Douglas. “It was beyond horrendous and nobody was told. The British Embassy had no idea and we only found out by luck. God knows what would have happened if he hadn’t phoned to tell me. Nobody would have known where he’d been taken and we couldn’t have taken steps to protect him. It was an extremely emotional and worrying evening for all of us, especially my father.
Listen - The emotional call from Dubai prison from Albert Douglas to his son when he faced transfer back to the United Arab Emirates prison where he was tortured:
Wolfgang Douglas has also slammed the UK Government, in particular the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, for failing to help people like his father who are imprisoned and tortured in the Gulf states, claiming that Liz Truss is putting trade deals before the human rights of their own British citizens.
Liz Truss has been touring the Gulf States, including the United Arab Emirates and Dubai, in a bid to secure free-trade deals for the UK to replace the former trade agreements through the European Union that were lost after Brexit.
The Foreign Secretary was recently interrogated about her apparent failure to raise the human rights of British citizens detained in the Gulf States by politicians who belong to the Foreign Affairs Committee whose job it is to scrutinise the work of the Government in its dealings with other countries.
“You can’t remember a single human rights issue you have raised with a Gulf States leader?” asked Chris Bryant, a Labour member of the committee.
But Ms Truss defended opening talks about trade deals with the Gulf states, arguing the need for “alternative energy sources” to counter Russia must be the priority.
“We are not dealing in a perfect world. We are dealing in a world where we need to make difficult decisions,” adding: “I think it is right that we build that closer trading relationship with Gulf states.”
“When we watched the parliament video of Liz Truss appearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee and failing even to remember my father’s case, let alone saying that she raised it, I nearly punched the TV,” says Wolfgang Douglas.
Wolfgang Douglas explains that just before Liz Truss entered trade talks with the Gulf States, about four weeks ago his father, and about13 other British citizens in Dubai prisons, were called into an office one by one and asked by Dubai officials whether they would give consent to be transferred back to a UK prison. Of course, my father and all the other prisoners said yes, adds Wolfgang Douglas. “The crime that my father is charged with doesn’t even exist in the UK.”
Wolfgang Douglas says that he believes that the Dubai authorities asked for consent to transfer back to the UK in case the fate of the British citizen prisoners were raised by the UK Government as bargaining chips in securing a trade deal. “But the transfer back to the UK didn’t happen and my father didn’t come home because Liz Truss didn’t bring his case up,” claims Wolfgang Douglas “It’s trade deals and money before the rights of my father and the other British citizens who are also imprisoned and tortured in Dubai.”
The fight to free Albert Douglas has taken a heavy financial and emotional toll but Wolfgang Douglas is not going to give up until his father is home in the UK. “When I have a cup of tea, I think my father can’t have a cup of tea,” says Wolfgang Douglas. “When I go to Starbucks and get a bit of fruit toast, I think my father can’t eat fruit toast. I am the head of two families now, my own and my fathers.
Wolfgang Douglas adds that he has had a lot of emotional and political support from businessman Alfie Best – a friend of the family. “Alfie has pulled in favours and lobbied his business and political links to try to help get my father home,” says Wolfgang Douglas. “He has been absolutely amazing and the family couldn’t begin to thank him enough for the unbelievable efforts he has made. He is a real friend and that will never be forgotten.”