Dechert partner Neil Gerrard fails to rebut allegations of human rights abuses
Deputy Judge Andrew Lenon QC has now handed down his judgment in the case of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) v Farhad Azima. The ruling is highly relevant to Karam Al Sadeq’s recent torture claims against international law firm Dechert and lawyer Mr Neil Gerrard who represent RAKIA.
Ras Al Khaimah has a well-documented track record of human rights abuses and the Judge noted in this judgment that: “The 2014 Amnesty International Report indicates that there were real grounds for concern about detention procedures in RAK. None of RAKIA’s witnesses were in a position to refute the findings in that report.” (Judgment para 202)
As the Judge ruled in his conclusion, Mr Azima was intending to draw attention to “actual cases of detention and illegality, not fabricated cases.” (Judgment para 202)
The Judge noted that reports had been provided to Mr Azima about Mr Gerrard conducting “highly aggressive and unlawful interrogations of prisoners including Mr Al Sadeq; and aggressively threatening Mr Al Sadeq’s wife and threatening one of RAKIA’s opponents with prison unless he agreed to pay $7.5 million to RAK, and offering clemency in exchange.” (Judgment para 201.5)
Gerrard gave evidence over two days, during which it was put to him that he interrogated Karam Al Sadeq whilst he was detained without charge, and without Karam’s lawyer being present. Whilst Mr Gerrard was on the witness stand he had ample opportunity to disprove these serious allegations but failed to do so.
In his conclusion, Lenon J ruled that: “In order to make good its case that Mr Azima procured and promoted false stories in the media, it was incumbent on RAKIA to establish that the stories which it was intended to publish about human rights violations were untrue. It has not done so." (Judgment para 202)
This finding supports Karam’s recently filed claim against Dechert and Neil Gerrard, and Gerrard’s colleagues Caroline Black and David Hughes, for torture and inhumane treatment, including arbitrary detention in solitary confinement for 560 days under a false name in inhumane conditions; physical and psychological harm, unlawful search, deprivation of contact with family, denial of the right to a fair trial, abduction from Dubai and illegal rendition to the RAK, contrary to the international rule of law.
For example, paragraph 128 of Karam’s Particulars of Claim says: “On one occasion Mr Gerrard or Mr Hughes (who were together at the time) said to Mr Al Sadeq that his refusal to provide the necessary “cooperation” meant that “Things will be prolonged for more years, now we have to go back [to the UK] for Christmas and New Year and this will only leave you in this shit place you are in for another two months, maybe you will be forbidden from taking a shower. Or maybe we will ask them to show you the sun for a bit.”
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International, who represents Al Sadeq, commented, “Dechert and Neil Gerard are facing grave allegations of torture and human rights abuses committed against Mr. Al Sadeq; precisely the kind of violations Farhad Azima sought to expose, and which RAKIA claimed were untrue. Yet, as Judge Lenon stated, RAKIA has failed to discredit or disprove these allegations when a key part of their case depended on their ability to do so. The abuse occurred, the violations were committed, torture was carried out, and Dechert is complicit and culpable in our view. Today’s ruling is a crucial step towards the vindication of not only Mr. Al Sadeq, but for all the innocent detainees in Ras Al Khaimah who have endured horrendous and illegal treatment, and we look forward to a just decision by the British courts in Mr. Al Sadeq’s case.”
Dechert’s defence is due on 30th June.
#DetainedinDubai #RadhaStirling #UAE #MiddleEast #HumanRights #RasAlKhaimah #RasAlKhaimahInvestmentAuthorityRAKIAvFarh #NeilGerrard #Dechert #KaramalSadeq #FarhadAzima #JamieBuchanan #CarolineBlack #Amnesty #RAK #RAKIA #DavidHughes #HighCourt #JusticeLennon