Ex-soldier held in Dubai over drug claims

Ex-soldier held in Dubai over drug claims

War veteran Andy Neal, 44, has been held in a Dubai jail over drug claims. Image: Detained in Dubai.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A British war veteran has been held in a prison in Dubai for four months over drug claims.

Andrew Neal, 44, was arrested by police in his apartment car park over claims he had been handling drugs.

Police searched his home but found no drugs, according to campaign group Detained in Dubai.

The group added that despite passing all drug tests, Mr Neal has been held since October 4.

 

 

Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, said that not enough was being done to “highlight the very real risk” the UAE poses to British tourists.

She told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “It is one of the most likely countries for Brits to be locked up abroad or face their legal system there. Not enough is being done to highlight the very real risk to British citizens.”

She added: “It is clear that there is no diplomatic intervention and the embassy is being less than helpful in this case and we have only recently seen people like Jeremy Hunt standing up for citizens like Matthew Hedges.

“The UAE have quite strong ties to the UK in trade and investment, and generally speaking the UAE values the UK but at the same time they are not providing the necessary safeguards to protect British citizens abroad.

“This is happening way too often. It is the most risky country because they market themselves as something completely different to what they really are.

“If we go and visit Saudi Arabia we know that we are taking a big risk and we know that there is a possibility of unfair trials, false arrests and accusations but when we go to the UAE, we are kind of expecting them to be in line with British standards.”

 

'Forced' to sign

Mr Neal, from Nottingham, served in the Army for 24 years before moving to Dubai with his wife and two children in 2015.

At the station, Detained in Dubai added that officers had “forced” Mr Neal to sign a statement in Arabia using his fingerprint.

The statement was later found to be a confession saying that Mr Neal had bought drugs from a man before selling them to a man called Ahmed, they added.

Ms Stirling said that Mr Neal’s alleged accuser officially retracted his statement during a meeting in January.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been asked for support.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We are providing assistance to a British man after his arrest in Dubai and are in touch with his family and the UAE authorities."