Middle East Civil and Criminal Justice Specialists
Malaysian national Richard Lau finally released following successful campaign
February 16, 2018
Malaysian national Richard Lau released from nearly a year's detention without charge following media campaign and intervention by Malaysian Government.
Detained in Dubai is happy to announce the release of their client Richard Lau after nearly a year in detention without charge.
Worldwide press attention and a media campaign led by Detained in Dubai and Richard’s family, drew the attention of Wisma Putra (the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to the plight of Malaysian national Richard Lau who had been detained in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) prison for over 10 months.
The Malaysia Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman stepped in to help, meeting with RAK Ruler Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi and other officials, and visiting Richard in prison. Since learning about the case, Anifah has been communicating closely with the Lau family.
In 2017, Richard was implicated in a group accusation of theft relating to the company he worked for and quickly found himself imprisoned where he has remained, awaiting charges to be brought against him. The other seven defendants were released, three of them exited the country leaving Richard to take the blame.
The reality was that Richard was just receiving wages and commissions for his job as Project Manager at a Malaysian company operating out of RAK. This misunderstanding has led to an anguish-filled detention, which has affected Richard and his family dramatically.
Every month the Public Prosecutor’s office had Richard’s detention extended on the grounds that they needed yet more time to collect evidence to make charges. After 10 months they had not found sufficient evidence against Richard Lau, yet still renewed his detention.
Holding anyone without charge indefinitely is a gross breach of human rights and the Malaysian Government have, quite rightly, stepped in to protect their citizen.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, reacted to the news of Richard’s release, “our congratulations to Richard and his family at the successful conclusion of the campaign to secure his freedom. He has suffered a tremendous ordeal, and his release is long overdue. We deeply appreciate the proactive, personal intervention by Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah to resolve this case, as well as the cooperation of the authorities in Ras Al Khaimah.
“Richard was detained without charge and without evidence for almost a year. Once this case gained international attention, foreign investors and tourists were rightly alarmed; this has happened at a time when Ras Al Khaimah is making every attempt to lure investment and attract foreign business people to the emirate. We have seen a marked increase in wrongful prosecutions and other legal abuses in RAK over the past several months; hopefully, the responsiveness of the authorities to the intervention in Richard’s case signals an awareness by the government that the justice system needs serious scrutiny and reform.”
Shahid Bolsen, Stirling’s partner at Detained in Dubai, who worked closely with the Lau family, commented, “Richard’s family held on to the hope that he would be released by the Chinese New Year holiday, and we are all very happy to see that hope fulfilled. The Malaysian government immediately responded to the news of Richard’s plight, and went the extra mile for their citizen, while respecting the laws of the UAE and the mutual ties between the two countries. They have provided a model which we hope other countries will follow when their citizens suffer similar circumstances in the UAE.
“Richard’s case has caused investors around the world to wonder whether or not Ras Al Khaimah is a safe and stable jurisdiction for them, since, on the basis of accusations alone, anyone can potentially face indefinite detention. While it is very encouraging to see RAK authorities cooperating in the matter of Richard’s release; that cooperation came as the result of a global media campaign and the direct intervention of the Malaysian government. Without such efforts, it is difficult to trust that situations like Richard’s would ever be resolved.”