Gay British man fears for life, fights extradition to UAE

PTI
Published Dec 22, 2015, 1:53 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 3:53 pm IST
Man fears he will be executed for his homosexuality in the conservative Gulf country.
Representational Image.
 Representational Image.

London: A gay British man accused of theft in Dubai is resisting extradition to the UAE, because he fears he could be tortured, punished disproportionately and executed for his homosexuality in the conservative Gulf country.

The unusual case of 32-year-old Michael Halliday from the Midlands region of England, who faces a theft charge in Dubai, is due to be decided by Westminster Magistrates Court later this week.

 

"I'm extremely worried. If I was sent back I don't believe I could defend myself in court or have a fair trial. The fact that I'm openly gay would mean that there would be prejudice against me.

"If I was found guilty then I'm worried they would add on extra charges and increase my sentence," Halliday told 'The Guardian'.

Gay sex is punishable by death under Article 354 of the UAE's Federal Penal Code.

In Dubai, under Article 177 of the country's Penal Code, "consensual sodomy" can lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years.

 

The UAE requested Halliday's extradition in June last year.

He is accused of stealing money from a safe in a department store where he worked as an operations manager.

Halliday's barrister, Ben Cooper, has told the court that his client would be unlikely to receive a fair trial and would be at risk of disproportionate punishment and ill-treatment.

"There is the additional real risk of torture prolonging the pre-trial period of incarceration and his ability to participate in any trial," Cooper said.

The court has been told that over the past five years there have been 43 cases of complaints by British nationals of torture or mistreatment within the UAE justice system.

 

Of those, 37 related to British nationals detained in Dubai and 19 of them alleged they had suffered physical beatings.

A spokesperson said: "The extradition hearing has taken place and judgement will be handed down on 22 December. In this document the judge will provide his findings of fact covering the basis of the extradition request and the challenges raised by Halliday."

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