British soldier is erased after spending a year in prisons in the UAE on the basis of fake drugs
A British Army veteran who has spent more than a year in prison for fake drug offenses in the United Arab Emirates is exempt from all charges.
Andy Neal, 44, was arrested in October 2018 by the Dubai police in the apartment building that he shared with his wife and two children.
The father of two was imprisoned for five months in a prison in Dubai before being transferred to the prison for maximum safety of al-Sadr in Abu Dhabi in March. He stayed there for seven months.
& # 39; We knew he was innocent & # 39 ;, his parents Sue and Maurice Neal told Sky News.
& # 39; We want to thank everyone for their support. We just want him home. & # 39;
The British army veteran Andy Neal, pictured here on a family photo, has been acquitted of drug charges, which means he spent seven months in prisons in the UAE. Neal was forced to sign a confession for drug offenses in October 2018 and has since been caged
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday: & We are pleased that Mr. Neal can now join his family again. Our employees continue to advise and support them and are in close contact with his legal team and the UAE authorities. & # 39;
In April, Mr Neal's lawyers presented his case to the United Nations Special Commissioner on Torture and Illegal Custody in a new bid to free him.
There was no evidence that Neal had ever been involved in the delivery of medicines in one of the Emirates.
The father of two hoped to be released repeatedly and was transferred from a Dubai prison to a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi in what the prosecutor sees as a political move to distance himself from the unlawful arrest.
Neal also reportedly suffered from PTSD after a tour of Afghanistan.
He lived with his family in Dubai since 2015 and led dog training when he was suddenly arrested last October.
A man who had never met Neal told the Dubai police that he was a supplier in an international drug ring. Neal, pictured in a family photo, denied any involvement in drugs and prosecutors in Dubai even said he was not guilty but left him in prison
Despite denying any involvement in drugs, he was forced to sign a confession in Arabic and to admit his involvement in a drug ring.
He was arrested after a man he had never met named him as a supplier to an international drug ring.
When the case came to court, his prosecutor admitted that he had never met Andy and withdrew his statement.
Despite the lack of evidence, prosecutors refused to release him to the police because he had accidentally left the main drug pusher out of the country.
Analysis of Andy & # 39; s phone data showed that he had never had contact with the other 16 arrested. No medicines were found at home and all drug tests turned out to be negative.
Human rights lawyers are exerting increasing pressure to release the father of two and to reunite him with his wife Sue and two young children (Mr Neal and his family, pictured)
The prosecutor had said he would make a final decision on Andy 's fate in January, but then transferred the case to Abu Dhabi.
Detained Campaign Group in Dubai, which endeavored to secure Andy & # 39; s release, said the move was intended to prevent embarrassment about the failed investigation.
Radha Stirling, CEO of the detainee in Dubai, said: “His treatment by the UAE is disgraceful. The life of Andy and his family has been turned upside down because the police and the Dubai Public Prosecutor cannot admit that his arrest was a mistake right from the start.
& # 39; The British government has notably been unable to stand up for Andy, although he has been risking his life to stand up for the UK for over 20 years.
Neal can be seen on his wedding day with his wife Sue. The former corporal received 17 medals and a praise during his two decades in the armed forces
& # 39; The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not supported him and his family and the Minister of Foreign Affairs has kept quiet. In these circumstances, Andy 's only story is the United Nations.
# It is outrageous that only accusation in the United Arab Emirates is sufficient to treat someone as guilty; and even more outrageous that evidence of innocence can be shamelessly ignored just to protect the professional reputation of people in the police when someone's life and freedom are at stake. & # 39;
He was visited by a doctor about concerns about his post-traumatic stress disorder and the former soldier was bluntly told & # 39; it was all in his head & # 39 ;.
Andy, who received 17 medals and a courage during his two decades in the army, was allowed to see his wife once a week while he was being held in Abu Dhabi.
The family enlisted the help of their local member of parliament and the former commander of Andy in an attempt to involve the government and exert pressure on the UAE to speed up his release.
A spokesman for London-based Guernica 37 Chambers said: “The communication to the UN argues on his behalf that this decision to transfer the case to Abu Dhabi is clearly a politically motivated decision on behalf of the public prosecutor, since he is allegedly looking for promotion.
Neal, in the photo, suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder after things he has seen and experienced in Afghanistan. A doctor recently visited the former soldier and told him that it was & # 39; all in his head & # 39; used to be
& # 39; Releasing Neal would mean forcing his department to admit mistakes, while it is no longer his responsibility to transfer the case to Abu Dhabi.
& # 39; During his detention, Mr. Neal was denied his prescribed medication to treat his diagnosed PTSD after his last tour of Afghanistan. The visiting psychiatrist chose to question Mr. Neal instead of giving advice.
The protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms should go beyond the political stance of national states; human rights are universal, they are not dependent on diplomatic, trade or military loyalty, and yet governments allow such factors to blink their policies to the detriment of individuals rather than their obligation to humanity.
In submitting this request for complaint, Guernica urges the UN Special Division to have Mr Neal detained, to carry out an inspection of the conditions of his detention and to investigate the ongoing mistreatment with a view to his immediate release and exemption. & # 39;
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