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Saturday, 16 April 2011

End this cover-up, say family of Briton 'beaten to death' in a Dubai police cell after swearing arrest


End this cover-up, say family of Briton 'beaten to death' in a Dubai police cell after swearing arrest


Dead: The family of Lee Brown, 39, are appealing to the government to unmask a 'cover up' in Dubai where he died in custody
Dead: The family of Lee Brown, 39, are appealing to the government to unmask a 'cover up' in Dubai where he died in custody
The family of a man allegedly beaten to death in a Dubai cell demanded government help last night after claiming his 'murder' was being covered up.
Authorities said Lee Bradley Brown had died of natural causes despite witnesses seeing him being 'beaten to a pulp' by prison guards.
To the fury of Mr Brown's family, Dubai's most senior legal authority announced that his death was caused by him 'choking on his own vomit'.
Maintenance worker Mr Brown, 39, of Dagenham, Essex, was on holiday at a £1,000-a-night hotel in the Muslim state when he was thrown into a filthy and overcrowded cell after being arrested for swearing and assault.
Inmates say they watched in horror as he was 'badly beaten' by a group of up to six police officers. 
They say he was stripped and handcuffed to a chair, where he was beaten with fists, feet and batons.
He was dragged to a solitary confinement cell where he died three days later – before guards bundled him into a body-bag and dragged him out of the building.
During Mr Brown's six days in Bur Dubai police station, guards refused to give him enough food and water and did not let him see a lawyer, it is alleged. 
His distraught mother Doris Shafi, 67, told the Mail: 'I'm dead inside. I may be breathing and walking, but I'm dead inside. This has been a terrible blow for me and my family.' 
His sister-in-law Susanne Gibbons, 40, added: 'How can this happen in this day and age?
 
    'We told the British Embassy what was going on and they did nothing. 
    'Please don't let the Dubai government cover this up. We need justice for Lee – we need to know what happened.' 
    Amid what was last night turning into a major diplomatic row, Dubai's attorney general Eisam Al Humaidan said the preliminary forensic report had ruled out any torture and that there were traces of cannabis in Mr Brown's system, with the formal autopsy report due to be issued next week.
    Notorious: Bur Dubai police station where witnesses say they watched Mr Brown being beaten to death by police while he was in custody
    Notorious: Bur Dubai police station where witnesses say they watched Mr Brown being beaten to death by police while he was in custody
    He said: 'The forensic report attributed Brown's death to asphyxia. The deceased choked on his own vomit. 
    'The report also pointed to traces of hashish in his blood and urine samples.' 
    But Radha Stirling, founder of UK-based charity Detained in Dubai, said the move appeared to be a 'cover-up'.
    She said: 'Were all of the witnesses who saw what happened to Mr Brown lying? I think not.
    Seven star: The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai where Lee Brown was staying, and was accused of attacking a maid
    Seven star: The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai where Lee Brown was staying, and was accused of attacking a maid
    'I do not believe that he died of natural causes and think this is a major cover-up.
    'Police stations in Dubai are notoriously brutal and the one that this poor man was in is by far the worst. 
    'Cells are usually covered in human faeces and can contain up to 20 prisoners in each one. Most will be forced to sleep on the floor. They are often denied the basic rights you would expect in a police station.
    'You have to remember that these people have not even been found guilty in a court of law.' 
    Police sources said Mr Brown, a guest at the seven-star Burj Al Arab, was arrested on Saturday following a complaint by the management that he had attacked a Nepalese housekeeper and tried to throw her from a sixth-floor balcony.
    A hotel spokesman said: 'She suffered injuries and bruises on her body for which she had to seek treatment.' 
    A hotel worker, who did not want to be named, said: 'He was acting very strange. 
    'He wasn't drunk but appeared to be quite disturbed mentally.
    'A chambermaid went into his room unannounced and he went mad. He then tried to push the maid off an internal mezzanine balcony.'
    Last night, the British Embassy said they were putting pressure on the Dubai authorities at 'the highest level' to find out what had happened, but it was too early to say whether Britain would send a pathologist to ascertain Mr Brown's cause of death.
    A spokesman said: 'What we are doing is working closely with Dubai police to pressure them to investigate the circumstances.
    'We spoke to them at the highest level and highlighted the seriousness of it.'
    It emerged yesterday that consular staff from the British, Canadian and Australian embassies visited the police station to check on the welfare of their citizens and to obtain statements regarding Mr Brown's death.


    SOURCE: 
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377097/Briton-beaten-death-Dubai-police-cell-Lee-Browns-family-say-end-cover-up.html?ITO=1490

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