Guernica 37
Guernica 37

The Daily Mail: “Raped and tortured in a Dubai prison: Former managing director of Leeds United reveals the hell he endured after being jailed and outed as gay by authorities in UAE”

Image by: Robert Bock

David Haigh, former Leeds United Managing Director, appointed Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers to pursue the UAE concerning allegations of torture, rape, unfair trial practices, and discrimination based upon sexuality. Yesterday, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Mirror featured his case.

Raped and tortured in a Dubai prison: Former managing director of Leeds United reveals the hell he endured after being jailed and outed as gay by authorities in UAE” is the title of the article published by the Daily Mail. The article echoes the words of co-founder of Guernica 37, Toby Cadman, who joined Mr. Haigh’s Human Rights Legal Team and has been instructed to represent him: ‘Mr Haigh highlighted how he was detained on an entirely arbitrary basis, that the trial process that followed ignored all established fair trial procedures, and further, that during his detention, he was tortured on a number of occasions, mentally, physically and sexually, and forced to watch the torture of other inmates at the hands of the Dubai police”.

The newspaper highlights the complaint Mr. Haigh filed before the Metropolitan Police war crimes unit -which is now in charge of investigations- and the devastating consequences of his brutal torture, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as “damage to his knee, hands, shoulder, eyes, teeth and a fractured cheek bone“. Regrettably, despite several complaints and communications reporting Mr. Haigh’s torture, Dubai DIFC Courts refused to investigate the allegations.

At present, Mr. Haigh seeks justice for the crimes committed against him. First, his conviction -imposed following a  trial process that ignored all fair trial standards- should be rendered null and void; and second, Mr. Haigh should be adequately compensated for the torture and discrimination he was subjected to. Guernica 37 will provide Mr. Haigh with constant legal support to defend his legitimate rights to truth, justice and reparation.


Raped and tortured in a Dubai prison: Former managing director of Leeds United reveals the hell he endured after being jailed and outed as gay by authorities in UAE

  • Former Leeds United Managing Director, David Haigh, arrested in Dubai in 2014
  • He was accused of falsifying invoices and channelling funds to a secret account
  • Claims he was repeatedly tortured and abused during 22 months he spent in jail
  • The 40-year-old says authorities outed him as gay against his will and then raped

Scotland Yard are investigating claims by an ex-football boss that he was raped and tortured in a United Arab Emirates jail after the authorities outed him as gay.

David Haigh, former Managing Director of Leeds United, spent 22 months in prison in Dubai after being accused of falsifying invoices and unlawfully channelling funds to a secret bank account.

The 40-year-old claims he was tricked into flying out to the Middle East to meet with officials from Gulf Finance House, from whom he had been trying to buy the football club. But the deal fell through and he claims he was arrested on the trumped-up charges in March 2014.

Mr Haigh said that during 22 months he spent in jail he was repeatedly tortured and abused, undergoing five ‘serious episodes’ of physical abuse as well as witnessing the torture of other inmates.

His complaint to the Metropolitan Police war crimes unit details the five months he spent in hospital on release, suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as damage to his knee, hands, shoulder, eyes, teeth and a fractured cheek bone.

He said that while in jail he was outed as being gay by the authorities against his will, in a country where the penalty for being homosexual is death.

It happened after he wrote pleading letters to the Dubai DIFC Courts, including judges who were required to investigate allegations of torture, but refused to do so.

He said: ‘One of these letters begged for the name of my partner and my sexuality not to be made public by the DIFC Court, as I feared for his and my own life.

‘This request was ignored, and such information was made public, and further, made available online in a country where the penalty for being gay is death.

‘The result of the information being made public, was that I was raped and sexually abused, and my partner had to flee our home in the Middle East where he is from, and claim refugee status.

‘I was categorically discriminated against…on the basis that I am gay, and because my partner is Muslim’.

Mr Haigh was among a string of Britons held in Dubai jails, often on spurious charges.

The latest was electrician Jamie Harron who was jailed for three months for brushing past a man in bar.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday following his release last month he warned : ‘People should be very wary. The legal system in Dubai is a shambles and if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone’.

Mr Haigh claimed he was tortured in the same police stations as where Lee Bradley, a British holidaymaker, died in 2011 amid allegations he was beaten in custody.

Having been held since May 2014 and convicted of fraud he was due for release in November 2016, only to be re-arrested for slander over comments made on Twitter while he was in jail, which kept him behind bars for another five months.

His lawyer, Toby Cadman, of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, said: ‘Mr Haigh highlighted how he was detained on an entirely arbitrary basis, that the trial process that followed ignored all established fair trial procedures, and further, that during his detention, he was tortured on a number of occasions, mentally, physically and sexually, and forced to watch the torture of other inmates at the hands of the Dubai police.’

Following numerous complaints by Britons and foreign nationals of torture and mistreatment the UAE has been criticised by the United Nations over its human rights records on detainees.

Universal jurisdiction enables certain serious crimes, such as torture, to be tried in UK domestic courts even if the alleged crime was committed abroad.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that in July 2017, we received an allegation of torture of a British national in Dubai, UAE between May 2014 and April 2016.

‘Officers from the Met’s War Crimes Unit (part of SO15) are currently scoping the allegations in line with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and SO15 guidelines.’

If charges follow, anyone identified by Mr Haigh as carrying out the torture could be arrested if they set foot in the UK, put on trial and jailed for life if convicted.


This article, by Anthony Harwood, was originally published at The Daily Mail on 7th November 2017.

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