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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

Family fearful as British veteran Andy Neal is moved to Abu Dhabi facing life in prison

Decorated veteran Andy Neal has been held in Dubai prison for over five months on allegations of selling drugs. The police investigation showed no evidence of any such crime, and the witness confirmed that it was not Andy he spoke of, when he made a statement. Despite police assurances that Andy would be released soon, he has now been moved to Abu Dhabi, something he and his family had dreaded would lead the investigation to “begin again”.

Detained in Dubai’s CEO, Radha Stirling, who is representing the family said “the move to Abu Dhabi is highly concerning where conditions are worse than Dubai. Andy has been struggling to keep himself together while in custody, but has at least been able to maintain contact with his family but this contact is now drastically limited. The move could mean that Andy spends many more months in prison as the investigation reopens".

He and his family had feared the possibility of this transfer which will see worse conditions for the PTSD sufferer and extremely limited contact with the outside world. His wife will no longer be able to visit him as she had been in Dubai and speak with him almost daily. Stirling spoke with Sue, Maurice and other members of Andy's family and reported "The family is understandably very down at the moment. They are extremely concerned for Andy's day to day wellbeing, and fearful that he could face a wrongful conviction. They are aware that the UAE justice system's evidentiary procedures are substandard, and are rightly concerned that without intervention from the British government, they could very well Andy.”

“Andy has today been transferred to Abu Dhabi and will now have his telephone access extremely limited. The move has come as distressing news to his family and friends who had been told that Andy would be released time and time again. There is not a strand of evidence against Andy and it is shocking that the UK government is allowing this treatment of British citizens to go on. Citizens need to be warned that when they travel to Dubai, even if they obey the rules and customs, that they are not protected from false allegations and wrongful detentions. As we saw in the cases of Billy Barclay and Jamie Harron, rules of evidence are not a priority in the UAE. The rulers would rather invest in public relations inspired cover-ups of human rights abuses, than the instatement of legal safeguards against abuse. What is further appalling is that the British government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to assist the UAE in promoting their government in Britain. Andy is a decorated veteran and should be a priority to the UK government and people like Jeremy Hunt. He has given so much to his country, but has seemingly been left on his own to fight against a country that our British courts refuse to extradite to. If convicted, Andy faces life in prisons known for human rights violations, torture and even the death of a British citizen in custody.”

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