It may not be a tale from Arabian Nights, but the tale of three senior Big Law partners conspiring to abuse and torture a ‘political prisoner’ in the United Arab Emirates has created a shock in the legal profession with a lawsuit making some appalling allegation of human rights abuses.
A former executive at the Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority, who had been in solitary confinement in the United Arab Emirates for 560 days, in circumstances described in the lawsuit as “atrocious and abusive” conditions was allegedly told by one of the lawyers that he had a reputation for shoving his foot “up many arses” among a wide variety of other allegations.
The 60 page lawsuit claims USD20 million and makes extraordinarily serious claims against the Dechert lawyers and former Dechert partner and is lead by senior QC Edward Fitzgerald (right) of Doughty Chambers (right), described as “a Rolls Royce in the cab rank of barristers.” He is taking the litigation with another heavyweight Silk, seasoned litigator John Brisby QC.
The Times reported that Karam al-Sadeq is suing Dechert and two of its partners and a former partner. The defendants include Neil Gerrard, Dechert’s London-based co-head of the firm’s white collar and securities litigation practice, Caroline Black, an anti-corruption and white collar criminal defense lawyer with the firm and former partner David Hughes, now with Stewarts Law and a banking and litigation lawyer.
The claim is for human rights abuses with the lawsuit claiming that Dechert acted in violation of UAE federal laws by knowingly pressuring Sadeq and his family to provide false testimony against other parties and by forcing confessions out of him under extreme duress.
We’ll Take Your Children
Gerrard is accused of crossing the line into serious human rights violations while working on behalf of RAK Ruler Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi. The lawsuit alleges that Gerrard threatened Sadeq with imprisoning his wife and taking his children away.
Over the course of approximately 15 interrogations, Gerrard allegedly told Sadeq that he was required to incriminate his former employer and colleagues at the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority, and that if he didn’t, he would never see the light of day.
Sadeq alleges that he was ultimately forced to sign a false “confession” prepared by Hughes, under Gerrard’s direction.
The particulars of the claim extend to some 60 pages and make some damning allegations against the Dechert lawyers, providing evidence of Sadeq’s wife being reduced to tears, aggressive and threatening interrogations, threats to have Mrs Sadeq jailed for decades, children removed and adopted and other such allegations.
In the Claim, Gerrard and Hughes are reported to have told Sadeq that they would be returning to the UK for Christmas, but that he would be left “in this sh*t place you are in for another two months, maybe you will be forbidden from taking a shower. Or maybe we will ask them to show you the sun for a bit,” revealing their apparent total control over Sadeq’s treatment and the conditions of his detention.
The claim also details how Mrs. Sadeq was told by both Gerrard and Hughes that her husband would be jailed indefinitely if he did not “cooperate”, and that she herself could be imprisoned and her children put up for adoption. Hughes allegedly told her “this is how things work in the modern world.”
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