This afternoon, the Westminster Magistrates Court ruled against the UAE's Application to Extradite Michael Halliday who had been accused in the UAE of breach of trust; which they argued in Court was the equivalent in the UK of Theft and Fraud.
Jonathan Black of BSB Solicitors instructed Ben Cooper of Doughty Street Chambers to represent Mr Halliday as defence counsel.
The defence submitted that if Halliday were to be extradited to the UAE, he would be at risk of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment by authorities of the UAE, particularly as a homosexual male.
While the presiding Judge was satisfied that there was a Prima Facie case (a case to answer), he needed to consider under Article 3, whether Halliday may be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The burden of proof rests upon the defence to prove that such breaches are a realistic prospect and are not merely "fanciful" ideas.
The presiding Judge, Jeremy Coleman, ruled his concern that while there have been slow advances in the UAE, "there is still no real culture of human rights" and expressed concern that the UAE has remained very closed to external or independent review. Justice Coleman expressed disappointment that the UAE government had not presented any expert testimony to attempt to persuade the Court that Halliday's rights would not be breached. Coleman found the Defence's testimony persuasive and ruled that he could not be sure that Halliday's rights would not be breached and thus discharged Michael Halliday.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai said in a statement "The UK Magistrates Court just passed Judgment that they will not extradite British National Michael Halliday to the UAE. We assisted Michael's legal team by providing expert testimony covering the possible human rights violations that Michael may have been subjected to in the event of his extradition. We are pleased and grateful that the Court agreed.
Extradition requests from the UAE appear to have increased this year across Europe and we have been contacted by individuals who have been arrested in the UK, Spain & Italy and countless others who have been listed on Interpol for the purpose of extradition proceedings. We are pleased that the UK has safeguard provisions in their Treaty to protect individuals from extradition in the event that their human rights may be violated."
We are thankful to all of those who assisted in Halliday's defence, particularly those who provided direct testimony in respect of their personal experiences in the UAE.