Brit detained in Prague prison & is confronted with extradition to Qatar over card debt accrued six years ago & # 39;
A British-Australian man serving a two-month prison sentence in Prague for credit card debt is now facing extradition to Qatar.
Alan Stevenson from Manchester was arrested in June as he traveled through the European city on his way to his sick mother in the UK.
His name appeared on an Interpol list after Qatari officials told him about an outstanding credit card debt he had accrued during a short stay in the country six years earlier. It is unknown for how much the debt is.
British-Australian Alan Stevenson of Manchester is imprisoned for two months in the infamous Pankrac Remand prison in Prague, where he is detained 23 hours a day and is now extradited to Qatar
Since his arrest, Mr Stevenson has been detained 23 hours a day in the infamous Pankrac Remand prison in Prague.
Prisoners are denied access to hot water or electricity and human rights activists have described the circumstances there as & # 39; coarse inhumane & # 39 ;.
Mr Stevenson's health has deteriorated over the past two months and he has lost more than 22 pounds.
Radha Stirling is the CEO of a public limited company called Detained in Dubai, who wants to help foreigners abroad.
She said that Qatar used Interpol, an international police organization, as a & # 39; collection agency & # 39;
The Pankrac pre-trial detention in Prague, where Mr Stevenson is serving a two-month prison sentence. The Pankrac prison became a pre-trial detention for the Nazi Gestapo after German troops occupied Prague in March 1939
Ms. Stirling said: & # 39; Qatar has overtaken the UAE as the biggest abuser of the Interpol system & # 39 ;, she said.
Mr. Stevenson worked as an IT manager in Qatarian capital Doha in 2013, during which time he opened a bank account.
The bank obliged him to submit a blank check as collateral against the card, which was used to cover any unpaid balance if he ever did not pay.
Mr. Stevenson appeared on an Interpol list after Qatari officials had reported to him about an outstanding credit card debt he had accrued during a short stay in the country six years earlier. He has traveled extensively and was IT manager in Qatar in 2013
When his mother fell ill in the UK, Mr. Stevenson was forced to return home.
Although he informed the bank at that time and attempted to negotiate a payment plan, the bank cashed in the blank check to cover his credit card account and bounced it.
Mr. Stevenson was sentenced in absentia for the check and reported to Interpol, who issued a red notice and classified him as a & # 39; wanted person & # 39 ;.
Ms. Stirling said: & # 39; The UK generally refuses to consider extradition to the Gulf States for human rights issues, but these cases should never even reach that stage.
& # 39; Interpol should not accept Red Notification Requests related to private financial matters.
& # 39; It is outrageous that Alan has been arrested in Prague and may be extradited. & # 39;
She added: & # 39; He is being held in terrible conditions in an archaic prison for a debt he is currently negotiating.
His sister Jennifer Small said she couldn't believe her brother & # 39; as a criminal fugitive & # 39; was treated because of a late credit card payment
A history of the infamous Pankrac prison in Prague
The prison is located in the Pankrac district of the city of Prague, Czech Republic.
It was built in 1889 and was considered a modern innovation for its time with the inclusion of central heating and running water in individual cells.
The prison was equipped with gas lamps, baths, and prisoners had to adopt work skills that would help them find a job after their release.
After the German occupation of the city in March 1939, the prison became a provisional detention for the Nazi gestapo.
It soon became a central execution site for enemies of the Reich and was equipped with a guillotine.
In 1944, the prison burst at the seams and housed more than 2,000 prisoners – 1,200 more than the original capacity of 800.
In May 1945, when Prague was freed from occupation, 1,087 prisoners were executed within its walls.
& # 39; If Interpol continues to permit this misuse of their system, governments worldwide will have to stop treating notifications as credible as they come from the Gulf, to ensure that innocent people like Alan are not abused. & # 39;
Mr Stevenson's family has been in contact with both the British and Australian embassies in the Czech Republic and has been told that his case is being assessed.
His sister, Jennifer Small, said: & # 39; Alan is my only brother, our mother is not well and we are worried about what he is going through and what will happen next.
& # 39; I can't believe that someone in 2019 could be treated as a criminal fugitive because of a late credit card payment.
She continued: & # 39; We just want him to be free and safe, he wastes no reason in that prison. It is heartbreaking. & # 39;
Local lawyers have told Ms Stirling that the proceedings could take up to more than a year and that bail was extremely unlikely for a foreigner.
Mrs. Stirling said: & # 39; As bad as the circumstances are now for Alan; cramped in an overcrowded cell with other prisoners, mixed with those accused of violent crimes, severely restricted telephone access and only an hour out of his cell; if he is extradited to Qatar, he may face an even worse situation.
& # 39; Human rights violations in detention are well documented in Qatar, and we already have a number of ongoing cases of Western clients who have been unjustly convicted and suffer in regrettable circumstances in the Doha prison system. & # 39;
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