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Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on paragraph 18 of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention opinion 16/2002; and what additional information his Department has sought from the authorities in Dubai. [99941]

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in paragraph 18 of its opinion 16/2002 of 29 November 2002, comes to the conclusion that

"with regard to the present period of detention, dating from 13 December 1999, the Working Group considers that it does not have sufficient information to give an opinion on whether or not the continued detention is of an arbitrary nature, which would involve interpreting a domestic regulation on the granting of early release".
We have previously advised Mr. Atkinson in Dubai that a local lawyer would be best placed to address the issue of the application and interpretation of the laws governing his imprisonment. Early last year, our embassy supplied Mr. Atkinson's UK based lawyer with a list of Dubai lawyers. We will continue to offer Mr. Atkinson all the assistance we properly can.