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Trade and Torture

Britons who claim they were tortured in prisons in the UAE say the UK government failed to fight for them. Is Britain putting trade above raising concerns about human rights?

Is the UK putting trade above concerns about human rights in the United Arab Emirates?

Britons who claim they were tortured in the Gulf state's prison cells say the UK government failed to fight for them.

The foreign office has received 43 cases of alleged abuse of UK citizens in the UAE since 2010.

In exclusive interviews, File on 4 hears from those who've got out of detention in Dubai who say they were arrested without charge and subjected to violent treatment and torture.

The UK government says it regularly raises Britons' cases - and allegations of mistreatment - with the UAE authorities. But those who've been stuck there tell File on 4 they didn't get the support they needed and expected when they were suffering, despite the authorities here knowing the risks they faced.

The government's also promoting deals with its largest trading partner in the Middle East.

Jane Deith counts up the billions of UAE investment in the UK, from container ports to housing developments.

And the programme hears the arguments for joint ventures with Emirati companies - for example by NHS hospitals - as a lucrative way to generate income as budgets are squeezed, ultimately providing better services for patients here.

The United Arab Emirates is seen as a stable ally in an unstable Middle East, not least in the fight against Islamic State - does that make the UK less willing to raise issues like human rights abuses and judicial process?

Reporter: Jane Deith
Producer: Sally Chesworth.

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38 minutes

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Britons who claim they were tortured in prisons in the UAE say the UK government failed to fight for them. Is Britain putting trade above raising concerns about human rights?

 

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