Foreign Office ‘needs to do more to warn Brits’ after Londoner dies of neglect in Dubai jail

A coroner has raised concerns the Foreign Office (FCDO) is not doing enough to warn Britons of the risk of visiting Dubai after a Londoner “probably” died from beatings and neglect in police custody.

Lee Bradley Brown, from Ilford, was arrested after a verbal altercation with a member of staff at the landmark Burj Al Arab hotel on April 7, 2011.

He died five days later from “neglect” while at the Bur Dubai police station.

A jury inquest into the 39-year-old’s death found that the beatings sustained in custody, from inmates and police, as well as a lack of access to food and medical care, “probably” contributed to his death.

Now in a rare prevention of future deaths report, released on Tuesday, east London coroner Nadia Persaud has raised fears future deaths could occur because the FCDO does not have an emergency access protocol to reach detained Britons in similar situations.

The inquest heard that the number of new cases of Britons reporting torture or mistreatment in Dubai to the Foreign Office had surged from 3 per cent of the global total to 13 per cent in just four years.

A lack of access to consular staff “possibly” contributed to Mr Brown’s death, jurors found.

Campaigners said the finding was especially worrying given the number of Britons traveling to nearby Qatar for the World Cup, and that Mr Brown’s case showed the dark side of the popular tourist destination.

The report also said current travel advice was “insufficient” because it does not have enough information about being arrested in Dubai and the consequences.

In the report issued to the Foreign Office, Ms Persaud said: “In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken.”

In a statement, issued through the campaigning group Detained in Dubai, Mr Brown’s mother Doris said: “I cannot imagine how awful his last moments must have been. It makes me incredibly sad and angry.

“I can’t believe that he died at the hands of savage monsters when he had done nothing wrong. They made up lies about him and took my life too. He was my life.”

The group’s CEO, Radha Stirling, said a number of Brits had alleged mistreatment in custody while in the United Arab Emirates.

Jailed: Albert Douglas (Detained in Dubai)
Jailed: Albert Douglas (Detained in Dubai)

She raised the case of Albert Douglas, a 60-year-old Londoner who claims his head was “kicked around like a football” while in custody at Al Ain Prison.

The grandfather was jailed for three years last year over alleged debts racked up by his son’s flooring business, in what supporters claim are trumped up charges.

“The UAE authorities do not appear to have learned any lessons,” said Ms Stirling. “There have been no consequences for the Emirates and we continue to receive reports of abuse, violence and torture”.

A FCDO spokesperson said that travel advice was kept under review, but did not say whether it would be updated specifically for the United Arab Emirates.

“We provided consular support to the Brown family and cooperated extensively with His Majesty’s Coroner to support the inquest. The Brown family remain in our thoughts at this difficult time.”

A spokesperson for the UAE Embassy in the United Kingdom said it had “stringent” rules to guarentee safety while in custody.

“In the case of Mr Lee Brown the Jury’s verdict did not determine a cause of his death, nor any unlawful killing,” said the spokesperson.

“To the extent the Jury speculated about factors for his death, the UAE completely rejects this speculation. The UAE notes also there were serious irregularities in the inquest process and treatment of evidence.”