British veteran Andrew Neal has been held in UAE without evidence for seven months, Detained in Dubai has instructed Guernica International Justice Chambers as lead counsel to petition the United Nations High Commissioner, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to push for his immediate release
The 20- year veteran was arrested in Dubai on October 4 because police had detained a suspected drug user who then supposedly identified Andy as his dealer.
A search of Andy, his car and apartment produced no evidence of drugs, and a blood test showed no drugs in Andy’s system.
Analysis of phone records revealed no connection between Andy and the 17 other suspects arrested in the same case; in fact, messages were discovered on other suspects’ phones that directly implicated a different individual as the drug dealer the police were seeking. Andy’s original accuser later denied ever having implicated Andy, and his accusation was retracted.
Despite having no evidence connecting Andy to drugs, and despite possessing proof of the actual guilty party, police have continued to detain Andy, even transferring him to a maximum security facility in Abu Dhabi, pending further review of his case.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, issued the following statement:
“Andy Neal is a committed husband and father, a man who served his country overseas for decades; he has been diagnosed with PTSD after years of service in the world’s most horrific conflict zones.
“If an arrested suspect levels an accusation against someone, police are supposed to investigate that allegation before making an arrest. In Andy’s case, they arrested first, and investigated later; and even though that investigation proved his innocence, they continue to hold Andy without justification; transferring his case to Abu Dhabi because they refuse to take responsibility for their incompetence.
“After weeks of appealing by his family to the Dubai government for psychiatric treatment for Andy’s condition; the authorities sent a “psychiatrist” who cruelly told Andy that his PTSD was all in his head, and used the visit to try to coerce Andy into making a false confession. This constitutes severe mental and psychological abuse.
“Andy is an innocent man, suffering a very real emotional condition that is only being exacerbated by the unbearable distress of his unjustified detention and isolation from his family and loved ones.
“The British government has conspicuously failed to stand up for Andy, though he risked his life to stand up for the United Kingdom for over 20 years. The FCO has provided no support for him and his family, and the Foreign Secretary has been silent. In these circumstances, Andy’s only recourse is to the United Nations.”
Acting on Detained in Dubai’s instruction, Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers on Saturday filed an Urgent Communication with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, on behalf of Mr. Andrew Neal.
Guernica 37 has requested that the UN human rights experts visits the former British Soldier in prison and urgently seeks his release from custody and a dismissal of the charges.