Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Britain asks Dubai to investigate death in custody

Updated: 2011-04-14 16:15


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DUBAI - Britain is pressing police in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai to investigate the death of a British tourist who died in police custody this month, a British embassy spokesman said on Thursday.

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"We can confirm that a British citizen died in police custody and we're very much aware of the case," the spokesman said, identifying the tourist as Lee Bradley Brown.

"What we are doing is working closely with Dubai police to pressure them to investigate the circumstances. We spoke to them at the highest level and highlighted the seriousness of it."

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reported on Thursday that Brown had been staying at the luxury Burj al-Arab hotel but was beaten to death after being arrested for swearing. It cited inmates of a Dubai jail who spoke to Brown's family.

A Dubai police spokesman was not available to comment.

Dubai's foreign population expanded rapidly in recent years as expatriates flocked to the Gulf Arab trade and tourism hub for its tax-free earnings and year-round sunshine.

The changes have challenged the Emirati population, now vastly outnumbered by foreigners, raising concerns that the rapid pace of growth is a threat to their social and religious identity in what remains a deeply conservative region.

The authorities have prosecuted some cases where foreigners were found in sexual or romantic encounters or drunk in public.

A British man and a female friend were sentenced to one month in jail last year for kissing intimately in public and consuming alcohol.


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