The Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) sought leave and presented submissions to the Court of Appeal in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, concerning allegations of torture during police custody of a British national arrested on drugs charges, who was convicted earlier this year. Our submissions drew the Court’s attention to international law concerning the admission of amicus curiae interventions and our three substantive arguments that:
(i) Failure to initiate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into allegations of torture and/or inhuman treatment is contrary to Article 12 of United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
(ii) Evidence allegedly obtained by torture should be excluded from consideration by the courts unless and until an independent investigation has been conducted that finds no torture or ill treatment occurred;
(iii) The right to consular access is an established international norm under article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which acts as a safeguard against ill treatment, and should be facilitated.
The Court of Appeals unfortunately did not address the allegations of torture in its judgment, upholding the conviction and sentence to nine years’ imprisonment. An appeal to the UAE Federal Supreme Court is pending.