Gulf News, United Arab Emirates
June 2 2008



Prisoners say assault claims were made up
By Bassam Za'za'Senior Reporter
Published: June 01, 2008, 23:35


Dubai: Four prisoners accused their cell mate on Sunday of inciting
inmates to complain about the behaviour of 25 jail wardens who are
currently being prosecuted on charges of abusing their authority and
beating inmates.

Three Emiratis and a Syrian, serving different sentences at Dubai's
Central Prison, appeared as witnesses before the Dubai Court of First
Instance.

They accused an Iraqi cell mate of inciting others to complain that
the 25 suspects had beaten them.

The former prison director, three lieutenants and 21 policemen earlier
denied abusing their powers and beating and injuring prisoners before
the court.

The four witnesses testified before Presiding Judge Fahmi Mounir that
A.M. had incited others to complain. An Emirati witness, N.M., said:
"A.M. is still inciting inmates to testify against the wardens."

A Syrian witness, Z.A., said: "A.M. is the one who asked the inmates
to complain ... he asked inmates to say 'this is our chance, we should
say they hit us to get better food'." The Public Prosecution charged
the suspects with abusing their authority.

While carrying out a routine search of the cells they allegedly beat
an Armenian inmate and left him with a ten per cent permanent
disability in his spinal cord.

Defence lawyers, including Khalifa Al Salman, Amal Bakri, Kawthar
Marwan, Samir Jaafar, Nabih Badr and Abdul Karim Makki also presented
two doctors and a lieutenant as witnesses yesterday.

Spinal injury

The doctors, who examined the Armenian, said he had a spinal cord
injury.

The prison doctor testified: "Five or six inmates brought him to me
and said he fell from the stairs ... I didn't see bruises which might
have been caused by injuries." Dubai police's doctor said: "I referred
him for an X-ray because he had a spinal cord injury... I didn't
notice bruises."

The lieutenant testified: "The prison director did not order us to use
force or assault the inmates during the search for knives and drugs in
the cells. Later, I was told that the Armenian had fallen from the
stairs."