MP called upon to help Brit held in Dubai jail over 'blood money'.
James Hutchinson has been told he won't be a free man until he pays thousands of pounds in compensation to the family of a cyclist he killed in a road accident back in 2013. Detained in Dubai has called upon Hutchinson's MP to raise his plight to UAE Ambassador and the Foreign Office.
14th August 2023: Radha Stirling, CEO of human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, has been in touch with James and his family. James was apprehended at the Mall of the Emirates by CID officers. Richard Drax, MP confirmed in March that he would forward correspondence to to diplomatic officials within the FCDO after Hutchinson complained about the British Embassy's lack of support.
Stirling, has long been a critic of the FCDO's role in their "comparably disappointing assistance for Brits facing injustice abroad". In contrast, Stirling thanked the US State Department, Senator Cruz and Congresswoman Jackson-Lee for their assistance in resolving Sassy Trucker's case last week.
Stirling said "The FCDO has been painstakingly weak when assisting Brits facing heinous abuses abroad, even failing to intervene in the case of a grandfather who was beaten by guards and subjected to grave human rights violations. In stark contrast, Canada, the US and even Malaysia have been very helpful in defending their citizens. It is impossible to say that Canada and Malaysia have more diplomatic influence in the UAE than Great Britain, so our government's inactivity appears to be a deliberate decision coming from the highest levels of the British government, and that decision is to prioritise trade deals at the expense of individuals."
This fact was highlighted when former FCDO head Liz Truss was interviewed about Brits detained abroad. She stumbled and couldn't even remember the names of torture victims she was supposed to be assisting. She was proud to have returned from the UAE with a trade deal though.
Stirling believes the issue of the prioritisation of trade deals over citizens is something that needs to be brought to the floor of Parliament. Stirling disclosed, "to shed light on the issue, we have been gathering witness statements from dozens of British nationals who feel their country has failed them. This is of particular importance given the recent Inquest into the FCDO's negligence in relation to the death of Lee Bradley Brown, who was killed by police brutality".
Author: Radha Stirling
EXCLUSIVE: Brit held in jail known as Dante's Inferno won't be freed until he pays 'blood money' - By Patrick Hill for the Mirror - 12 August 2023
James Hutchinson was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in July and has been detained at Al Wathba jail – known as Dante’s Inferno. The Brit, 52, has been told he will not be released unless he pays £170,000 in “blood money” compensation to the family of a cyclist he killed in a road accident in 2013.
Insurers had already paid around £15,000 in compensation to the family of the Sudanese man in 2014 after a judge ruled James was partly responsible for the crash. James’ dad Malcolm, 74, an RAF veteran, said: “I’m begging the British Government to sort this out. worried “The embassy over there doesn’t seem to be interested in his plight.”
Malcolm, of Rotherham, South Yorks, who flew to the UAE last week, said: “James looked dishevelled and was in low spirits when I saw him in jail. I’m very worried.” Ex-inmates have talked of sharing cells with up to 40 others, and said “hellhole” conditions include 50C heat and “rotten garbage” food.
The accident was on an unlit road in the UAE city of Ras Al Khaimah. James thought the matter was closed after his insurer paid compensation. It is understood he only discovered the family had made a further civil claim against him for the new amount in 2021. He claims a court case, in which a judge ordered him to pay it, went ahead without his knowledge.
His bank account was later emptied of another £15,000 and a warrant was issued for his arrest. No criminal charges were filed in relation to the crash. James, who was a sergeant in the Army Air Corps and has a wife and seven-year-old girl who are living in Russia, was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. He was most recently a racing driving instructor in the UAE. His mum Heather, of Portland, Dorset, has launched a GoFundMe appeal to raise the sum needed to free him. It has so far reached £2,640. Heather, 74, a retired nurse, said: “We’ve been in contact with military veteran associations and MPs in the UK as well as trying ways in the UAE system to get justice. We have yet to find anyone that will help him.”
Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai, has vowed to help the family. She said: “Without urgent diplomatic intervention, James could spend years in prison. We’re reaching out to his MP and the Foreign Office. It’s disturbing the UK does not take care of its servicemen when they face wrong full detention in an allied nation.”
“Paying ‘blood money’ is standard in the UAE and if one cannot afford the demands, they can be subject to indefinite detention and issued with a travel ban. “The justice system is clearly being manipulated against James." An FCDO spokesperson said: “We providing consular support to a man detained in UAE and his family, and are in contact with the Emirati authorities about his case.”
Detained in Dubai: http://www.detainedindubai.org
Detained in Doha: https://www.detainedindoha.org
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