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Arbitrary Detentions

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with Mr. Atkinson's lawyers since the publication of the UN working group on arbitrary detentions' opinion 16/2002. [106045]

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted opinion 16/2002 on 29 November 2002. Neither Mr. Atkinson's UK lawyers nor any other lawyers acting on his behalf have contacted either the embassy or the FCO since November 2002.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 10 March 2003, Official Report, column 33W, what steps he is taking to secure the information necessary to determine if Mr. Atkinson's continued detention is of an arbitrary nature. [106046]

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Mr. Atkinson's continued detention stems from the application of Dubai law. Mr. Atkinson, his family and his lawyers have repeatedly been informed that the question of the interpretation of local law can only be addressed by his solicitors through local lawyers. Our embassy in Dubai offered Mr. Atkinson's lawyers a list of local lawyers in May last year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 5 March 2003, Official Report, column 1069W, when the Consul-General was informed of Mr. Atkinson's injury; and if he will make a statement about the circumstances of the riot in which Mr. Atkinson sustained the injury. [106047]

Our consular staff visited Jumeirah Central Prison in Dubai on 12 August 2002, immediately upon learning of disturbances at the prison. During the visit, Mr. Atkinson told our consular staff that some prisoners, including himself, had been beaten during the disturbances at the prison on 30 July 2002, when, we understand, police were called to quell fighting among local prisoners.