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Former British soldier Andrew Neal 'accused of selling drugs in Dubai'

More fun and games from the UAE

An advocacy group claims police in the country forced the married father-of-two in to signing a false confession.

A former British soldier recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder is being detained in the United Arab Emirates, a group representing his case has revealed.

Andrew Neal, 44, a married father-of-two who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, has been held in Dubai for more than four months after being accused of selling drugs, a charge he denies, according to the legal advocacy group.

The head of Detained in Dubai, which is representing the Neal family, claimed today that the person who accused Mr Neal of selling drugs had retracted his statement.

But still the Briton - a military dog trainer and handler during his time in the army who is said to have 14 medals and a commendation - remains behind bars.

Radha Stirling appealed to the foreign secretary and Mark Spencer, the Conservative MP for Sherwood, for help.

She said: "We are calling on the support of Jeremy Hunt and Mark Spencer to stand up for Andy Neal, a man who has dedicated much of his life to supporting the British forces abroad."

The former British soldier is a married father of two. Pic: Detained in Dubai

skynews-andrew-neal-dubai-british-soldier_4576557.jpg


She also urged the government of Dubai to "respond to this injustice swiftly".

In a statement to Sky News, Ms Stirling added: "It is shameful that law enforcement has a rubber stamp to ruin people's lives, rob children of their parents, and jail innocent persons with impunity.

"How is it that forced confessions are still standard procedure in the UAE?"

It was not immediately possible to obtain a response from the Dubai authorities about the claims.

Mr Neal, who was born in Nottingham and spent 24 years in the army from 1991, is the latest person to fall foul of the law in the Gulf state.

A British-Sudanese football fan is in detention reportedly for wearing a Qatar shirt to a football match - deemed an offence in the country.

The UAE has denied this was the reason for the arrest of Ali Issa Ahmad, accusing the 26-year-old of making false statements and wasting police time.

British academic Matthew Hedges was held in solitary confinement and charged with being an MI6 officer last year after what he says was a forced confession.
Mr Neal was a military dog handler and trainer during his time in the military. Pic: Detained in Dubai
Image: Mr Neal was a military dog handler and trainer. Pic: Detained in Dubai

Mr Neal, who moved to Dubai in 2015 with his family to run a dog training business, was taken away by Dubai police at his apartment on 4 October in front of his wife and nanny, according to the statement from Detained in Dubai.

The advocacy group said it was given details of Mr Neal's case from his wife and parents.

It accused the police of confronting him in a basement car park and showing him what they said was a warrant in an Arabic WhatsApp message.

Detained in Dubai said in a statement: "They searched Andy, searched his car twice and then made their way up to his apartment where Andy's wife and sleeping children were."

The police are alleged to have searched a couple of drawers and wardrobes in a bedroom.

Officers allegedly punched Mr Neal twice in the stomach, pinned him against the wall by his neck and then sat him in a chair in the middle of the bedroom, according to the statement.

They allegedly accused him of handling drugs, which he denied.

Officers then took Mr Neal to the apartment of a Dutch international called Ray whom they arrested along with a woman, the Detained in Dubai statement said.
Mr Neal has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. Pic: Detained in Dubai
Image: Mr Neal has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. Pic: Detained in Dubai

Mr Neal's phone and the phones of the other two individuals were confiscated and they were taken to a police headquarters, where it is claimed Mr Neal spent 17 hours "painfully handcuffed with no food, water or access to the bathroom".

The former soldier was allegedly told that someone had identified him as having sold drugs to them, but Mr Neal said he was innocent, the advocacy group said.

The group claimed: "The police drew up a statement in Arabic and forced Andy to sign it by way of his fingerprint, and when Andy complained that he had no idea what was written, the interrogator said 'exactly what you said'."
It said Mr Neal and his wife subsequently found out "the document was a confession that he purchased drugs from Ray and sold them to Ahmed, a Pakistani/Canadian man who they told Andy had accused him of selling drugs," Detained in Dubai said.

The former soldier was taken to the al-Barsha police station.

His wife, a teacher, whose full name has not been disclosed, was only allowed to visit Mr Neal on a Wednesday.

The couple have a six-year-old daughter and a son, aged two.

Detained in Dubai claimed that subsequent hearings with the prosecution were confused and a number of hearings cancelled.
The ex-soldier is said to have been forced in to signing a confession. Pic: Detained in Dubai
Image: The ex-soldier is said to have been forced in to signing a confession. Pic: Detained in Dubai

It is claimed a meeting was arranged with his alleged accuser on 23 January in which Ahmed is claimed to have denied he pointed the finger at Mr Neal.

Ahmed's "'statement' was then officially retracted", Detained in Dubai said.

"No drugs were found in Andy's possession and all tests had returned negative," it said.

Analysis of the seized phones allegedly found no communications between Mr Neal and Ray.

Detained in Dubai said: "The new evidence exonerated Andy and he was told the prosecutor would finalise the decision as to whether to release him or transfer his case to Abu Dhabi before the end of January."

However, they said he remains in detention.

Asked about the case, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We are providing assistance to a British man after his arrest in Dubai and are in touch with his family and the UAE authorities."
 
Did he have PTSD before prison? And he looks shifty to me - those eyes are too close together, he’s probably guilty...

He did sign with a fingerprint...

I'm surprised he didn't ask for legal advice, I believe the FCO or local consulate is able to offer limited assistance not limited to a local type of legal representation at his own cost? And he was dumb enough to sign documents he didn't understand without a solicitor present
 
At least he has 14 medals . . .
 
He did sign with a fingerprint...

I'm surprised he didn't ask for legal advice, I believe the FCO or local consulate is able to offer limited assistance not limited to a local type of legal representation at his own cost? And he was dumb enough to sign documents he didn't understand without a solicitor present
He won't be the first or last who are persuaded to do that.
 
A dog training business in Dubai? Kinda tough to make a living at that I would have thought, since there are not that many dogs there, many arabs regard them as haram.
 
A dog training business in Dubai? Kinda tough to make a living at that I would have thought, since there are not that many dogs there, many arabs regard them as haram.

Apart from the Saluki's kept by many out there.

I would imagine there is excellent contract work looking after the hunting dogs of the wealthy myself.
 
Did he have PTSD before prison? And he looks shifty to me - those eyes are too close together, he’s probably guilty...
ex Woofer training woofers about to go howling mad in an environment full of possible woofters*....

I think i missed my 2nd career headline writing.... not:-D

* of course prison could be absolutely fine in DBX and soap dropping memes utterly inappropriate
 
I would imagine there is excellent contract work looking after the hunting dogs of the wealthy myself.
Hunting dogs? Hunting what, it's a desert.
 
A former British soldier recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder is being detained in the United Arab Emirates, a group representing his case has revealed.

Has any soldier who has been arrested in the last decade not had PTSD?
 
Hunting dogs? Hunting what, it's a desert.

Falcons and Hounds are used for hunting in several gulf countries.

When I used to go out into the Ulu, I'd sometimes find local lads having set up a camp for a weekend with their falcons on perches. Sometimes training them with lures. I guess they hunted other birds.*

I used to wake up in the morning in the desert and see a variety of jerboa and snake tracks (and wild camels) going through my campsites.

Unless you are truly in the heart of the Empty Quarter, there's still some wildlife.

*Actually I think that they were on a lads drinking weekend, but that's none of my business.
 
These threads refer.

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/another-hero.269656/page-4#post-8351383
https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/the-englishman-abroad.268851/

The standard jingoism from the media -
1) MUST be innocent, as he/she is a Brit.
2) Bloody foreigners - they don't know what they are doing.
3) Signed confession they didn't understand
4) Vile prison conditions
5) Distraught family haven't heard anything.


a con-man becomes a 'businessman'

Having witnessed many ex-UK forces chaps make cnuts of themselves in Saffer parts, and expect to 'walk', maybe this could be a wake-up.
I'm sure @Crash can entertain us with what the laws of various nations say.
 
Falcons and Hounds are used for hunting in several gulf countries.

When I used to go out into the Ulu, I'd sometimes find local lads having set up a camp for a weekend with their falcons on perches. Sometimes training them with lures. I guess they hunted other birds.*

Unless you are truly in the heart of the Empty Quarter, there's still some wildlife
Maybe you're thinking of KSA, no empty quarter in the UAE and the way they're building there will be no desert left in Dubai soon either.
In all my time in Dubai I never heard or met any locals who even owned a dog, never mind hunt with them. Falcons and other raptors, yes they loved those. They would hire a whole plane so they could fly with them.
 
The Arabs will care about our protests about as much as we do when we have a foreign national in custody.

Unfortunately not all countries are as “lenient” as we are.
 
The Arabs will care about our protests about as much as we do when we have a foreign national in custody.
In my experience they don't nick you for nothing. Something has to trigger them (then they'll throw the book at you). It means work and they're not into working.
 

endure

GCM
Falcons and Hounds are used for hunting in several gulf countries.

When I used to go out into the Ulu, I'd sometimes find local lads having set up a camp for a weekend with their falcons on perches. Sometimes training them with lures. I guess they hunted other birds.*

I used to wake up in the morning in the desert and see a variety of jerboa and snake tracks (and wild camels) going through my campsites.

Unless you are truly in the heart of the Empty Quarter, there's still some wildlife.

*Actually I think that they were on a lads drinking weekend, but that's none of my business.


Emirates actually do a couple of flights to Pakistan where falcons sit on perches in the main cabin.
 
Maybe you're thinking of KSA, no empty quarter in the UAE and the way they're building there will be no desert left in Dubai soon either.
In all my time in Dubai I never heard or met any locals who even owned a dog, never mind hunt with them. Falcons and other raptors, yes they loved those. They would hire a whole plane so they could fly with them.

There's a Saluki hospital as an adjunct to the Falcon hospital outside Abu Dhabi.

Anyway, I apologise for the thread drift.

But a country best to be rather cautious in one's dealings (either of them, KSA or UAE).
 

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