Prisoner Beaten By Guards Rejects Settlement Offer

Awad Mustafa

Decem ber 10. 2009 6:30PM GMT DUBAI

A former prisoner who is suing Dubai Police for Dh5 million (US$1.4m)
after an attack by prison guards left him permanently disabled has
turned down an out-of-court settlement offer, his lawyer said.

SC, 42, an Armenian businessman, suffered severe spinal injuries when
wardens at Al Aweer Central Jail beat him on August 1, 2007.

The attack took place while they were searching his cell during a
wider operation at the prison.

Last year, at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, four senior
officers, five corporals and 16 guards were found guilty of abuse of
power, conspiracy and assault following a police investigation into
treatment of prisoners at the jail.

During the three-month trial, 12 inmates from the jail testified
that they had been assaulted by guards, five of whom were convicted
of assaulting and permanently disabling SC.

All those convicted appealed. In June, the Dubai Court of Appeals
upheld the convictions.

The civil trial opened earlier this week. SC is suing for "medical,
emotional and financial damages".

Prosecution documents presented at the criminal trial stated that
SC was beaten so severely that he suffered spinal injuries requiring
surgery at Rashid Hospital.

In their defence, the five guards convicted of assaulting SC claimed
he had sustained his injuries when he fell down a flight of steps
during the search of the prison.

The civil action implicates them and two senior officers.

"He has been severely hurt in this assault," said his legal
representative Aisha al Tunaiji, of Eve Advocates and Legal

"He is still being treated and has [had] a number of operations."

SC was convicted of a criminal offence while on holiday in Dubai in
early 2007. He has been in rehabilitation in a Dubai hospital since
his release, according to Ms al Tunaiji.

By law, civil actions cannot be taken against government bodies until
they have been given the chance to offer a settlement.

"He was not satisfied with the Dubai Police settlement offer and
stated that he wanted to take them to court," said Ms al Tunaiji.

The civil action against Dubai Police, whose General Department of
Punitive and Correctional Establishments is responsible for prisons,
claims SC sustained a "10 per cent permanent disability" as a direct
result of the assault.

Ms al Tunaiji said the civil case was filed last year and had only
come to court now after the police failed to reach a settlement
agreement with her client.

Dubai Police and the Dubai Government’s legal affairs office are
contesting the action.