British ambassador tours Dubai prison

The tour included visits to the central monitoring room, clinics, sports facilities and workshops.

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DUBAI // In an effort to foster closer ties between the emirate's prison administrators and British officials, Dubai Police have met with Ambassador Dominic Jermey.

Major General Mohammad Hamid Al Suwaidi, director general of the Department of Penal and Correctional Institutions, gave the British ambassador a tour of Dubai Central Prison on Thursday.

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The tour included visits to the central monitoring room, clinics, sports facilities and workshops.

"I had an extremely useful and informative visit to Dubai Prison and discussion about conditions there," said Mr Jermey. "It is important that all prisons fulfil their duty of care to those who have been detained. The Embassy looks forward to continued cooperation with the Dubai authorities on these matters."

The visit comes almost three months after a British tourist died in Dubai Police custody on April 12. Lee Bradley Brown, 39, was detained at Bur Dubai police station on April 6 after being accused of assaulting a maid at the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Authorities here said Lee Bradley Brown died when he choked on his own vomit. His family members in the UK have requested an independent inquest.

Robert Tinline, the director of consular services at the British Foreign Office, also visited Al Aweer Central Prison on May 25 to hear the concerns of several of the prison's 35 British inmates.

The foreign office has launched a campaign to educate British travellers about acceptable conduct after the British Behaviour Abroad report, found the UAE has the second highest arrest rate of Britons worldwide.

As many as 265 Britons were arrested or detained in the UAE in the year to April 1, 2010.

"When we see stats going up we try to do things to prevent those sorts of cases," said Mr Tinline. "Ideally we'd have 100 per cent of Brits not getting into trouble, but we're modest enough to know that there are a lot of variables. We don't have set targets."

- Additional reporting by Amna Al Haddad and Carol Huang