The mother of a British man who claims to have been tortured by police in Dubai said today she was “ecstatic” he had received only a four-year jail sentence for cannabis possession.
Tracy Cameron said she believed her son Grant, 25, would be home by the end of the year and could be pardoned within the next few months.
Mr Cameron, Suneet Jeerh, 25, and Karl Williams, 26, were today jailed for four years for possessing synthetic cannabis, known as spice.
The men, all from London, claim they suffered beatings, electric shocks and had guns held to their heads by police to extract confessions.
Ms Cameron said she felt relief today after being warned that the men, who have been in jail since their arrest while on holiday in July last year, could have received much harsher sentences.
She said: “It might sound alarming to us in the western world, but I am absolutely ecstatic with that information… I am very positive that my son will be home with his family by the end of the year at the very latest.
“I do believe that my son will be given a pardon in July and he will be home with his family.”
But Davena Kumar, sister of Mr Jeerh, who lives in Wanstead, was less happy with the sentences, saying: “My brother did not have those drugs in his possession. He was dragged out of some lifts in his apartment, beaten up in an alleyway and tortured in the desert. We are appealing this decision. It is not good enough for Suneet, he needs to come home.”
Prime Minister David Cameron was raising the case during today’s state visit to Britain by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates.
The men claim they signed documents in Arabic — a language none of them understands — after guns were held to their heads. Mr Williams also reported having electric shocks administered to his testicles. Human rights campaigners said Foreign Office officials visited the men in custody and noted “extensive bruising” and evidence that one had a broken hand.
Kate Higham from charity Reprieve also claimed that Dubai police refused to allow an independent medical expert into jail to examine the men.
In a letter to the charity, the Prime Minister said: “Our concerns about the allegations of torture have been repeatedly raised with the Emirati authorities. The absence of an independent medical examination remains a concern. We continue to press for evidence of a full, impartial and independent investigation.”
The three men, who were charged with possessing, taking and intending to distribute illegal drugs, were arrested after local detectives said they found synthetic cannabis in their car.
Dubai police have denied any wrongdoing. The UAE has said it has investigated the allegations of torture and found them “baseless”.