Berkshire

Ahmad Zeidan: Foreign Office pledges to help UAE drugs convict

Ahmad Zeidan Image copyright Reprieve
Image caption Ahmad Zeidan claims he was tortured into signing a confession in Arabic, a language he does not understand

The Foreign Office minister has pledged to help a jailed British man in the United Arab Emirates who says he was tortured into admitting drugs charges.

Ahmad Zeidan, 22, from Reading, is in prison after cocaine worth about £3 was found in the car he was travelling in.

He claims he was tortured into signing a confession in Arabic, a language he does not understand.

Following an appeal by a Reading MP in Parliament Tobias Ellwood said he would meet the Zeidan family.

Zeidan was studying at the Emirates Aviation College in Dubai when he was arrested in December 2013 along with several other young men.

Police had found 0.04g of cocaine, with a street value of about £3, in a car he was travelling in.

He was given a nine-year jail term in May 2014 but maintains the drugs were not his.

Both he and his family have twice unsuccessfully requested for a release under UAE state prisoner pardons.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma, who wants to help secure Zeidan's early release, said: "My former constituent... whilst in prison has been subject to brutal beatings and threats of physical and sexual violence by police officers."

Mr Ellwood said the Foreign Office had been providing consular assistance since the arrest but that he would meet Mr Sharma and the Zeidan family and "stand ready to provide further assistance".

Police in the UAE have previously denied claims of torture.

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