|Cat Le-Huy released - Branson sends Cat home 1st Class|
Cat Le-Huy was released from Al Wathba Prison early this morning after a very long 6 weeks.
We are relieved that he is finally free. Cat is very tired but excited to be returning to his normal life & thankful to the many people who have helped him throughout this ordeal.
Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic has kindly given personal attention to the matter and is flying Cat back to London in luxury tomorrow.
There is a sense of relief from friends and family. We are all looking forward to seeing him in person.
Please contact me for further information.
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Cat Le-Huy - Released in Dubai
UK Tourist Arrested in Dubai Airport for Melatonin, Imprisoned Without Charges
31-year-old Cat Le-Huy, Head of Technology at Endemol UK, was detained and arrested during a tourist visit to Dubai for carrying melatonin, an over-the-counter jet lag aid. Though once in custody Le-Huy tested negative for drugs and his melatonin was cleared by officials, he is still in Dubai jail with no charges and no release date.
Dubai, UAE, February 6, 2008 - German citizen and UK resident Cat Le-Huy arrived in Dubai and was arbitrarily stopped at immigration. Initial inspection of Le-Huy's belongings by Dubai authorities yielded a bottle of melatonin, a health supplement available over the counter both in Dubai and in the US (where Le-Huy had purchased it). After being taken into the interrogation room, Le-Huy was strip-searched, submitted to urine testing, and was forced to sign papers in Arabic which he couldn't read, while being promised that if he signed them he would be released and deported. During the bag search, authorities came up with a few trace fragments of dirt, which they alleged to be hashish.
During and after the arrest, Dubai authorities alleged that the melatonin bottle found in Le-Huy's bag contained other pills. Within the first 48 hours, tests conducted by the authorities indicated that the melatonin pills did not contain any other substances and the melatonin was cleared. Le-Huy's urine sample also tested negative for any drug use. The German Embassy expected that Le-Huy would be released at this time, but authorities have called on an option to extend his detainment in order to investigate the specks of dirt that they found.
Despite having tested negative for drug use and with no evidence of drug possession, Le-Huy remains detained in Dubai without charges. Having been singled out, seemingly for having long hair and for being of South East Asian descent, he has been added to the growing number of foreigners trapped in the system, whose captors are reportedly financially rewarded for successful prosecution. There is no due process: detainees, if they wish to be released swiftly, must plead guilty and ask for a pardon from the sheik as their only recourse for justice. If a prisoner maintains their innocence they are neglected and held in indefinite limbo, some having been in detention centers for a year without trial. There are conflicting reports as to the conviction rate in the UAE, but they are all very high figures.
26th of January 2008
9.00am - 12.00pm Detained for suspected possession of narcotics after a search revealed melatonin pills stored
Strip searched, urine samples & pills taken for testing. All results negative.
Further search of luggage resulted in the discovery of an unidentified substance (small brown specs of what is likely to be dirt)
Cat signed a confession in Arabic (which he does not speak) under duress and was assured if he signed it then he would be deported that evening.
12.30pm Contact made with German Embassy
1.00pm Cat was moved to Bur Dubai Police Centre for processing
27th - 28th of January 2008
Cat was returned to the Airport Deportation Centre where he remains
German Embassy was contacted and they advised they expected the situation to be resolved
German Embassy advises that they will not become involved until the investigation into the specs of brown in Cat's bag is complete
29th of January 2008
Detention extended for 7 days without hearing or charge
3rd of February 2008
Detention extended for 14 days without charges or hearing
4th of February 2008
No action from embassy
No further information on test results from Dubai authorities
UAE Legal representation retained & beginning investigation under the supervision of UK Law firm Royds Solicitors
7th of February 2008
Cat transferred to Central Police Station cells
Legal representation is to appeal for conditional bail
German Embassy & Legal representation confirmed test results should conclude on Monday
11th of February 2008
Test results due back.
Unable to ascertain results
Rumors of Cat being moved to the Central Prison though remain unconfirmed
No Contact from Cat (unusual)
12th of February 2008
Cat's legal representative visits him and reports he is in good spirits. A further visitation has been arrange
German Consulate has been informed the urine test results are negative
Officials have informed lawyer the investigation is to conclude today
13th of February 2008
Hashem informed us they have positive test results for hashish
14th of February 2008
Cat has been detained another week without charge
It will likely to be another 30 - 40 day extension
After this, a Hearing will be arranged where Cat will plead innocent
There are a number of options that we would appreciate, given the circumstances that would form a resolution or demonstrate progression. We fully acknowledge that his carriage of non-prescription pills outside their package was negligent, and willfully respect the investigation of these and the alleged substance.
1. Release with surrender of his passport, as a form of bail until the conclusion of the investigation.
2. Immediate deportation
3. Release and freedom based on the non-provision of charges over a period of 10 days.
Ideally, we would prefer the third option, in view of the situation as a misunderstanding that occurred as result of an implementation of current policy.
We as representatives of Cat Le-Huy, and with the deepest respect for Dubai, its laws and traditions, particularly with regard to the 'zero-tolerance' of 'drugs' would like to see the risk of detainment for other travelers to this nation reduced.
Our goal in these recommendations is to recognize and actively support the 'zero-tolerance' law while in balance with the cultural differences of international guests, ultimately serving to project Dubai's strong anti-drug stance whilst maintaining respect for human rights and legal process.
1. That passengers on airlines are able to surrender items, that are legal in their country of origin, under amnesty, either on the airplane or in plastic-bins placed between immigration and the point of arrival.
2. That medications or decriminalized substances legally consumed within the country of origin are not prosecutable under Dubai law.
3. A clear legal process from the point of detainment, with any confession supplied in the native language of the person being held, and that confessions be given freely and not subject to false incentive (such as promise of immediate deportation) in return for signature.
Dubai actively seeks tourism dollars
According to friends, Le-Huy's decision to travel to Dubai came about after visiting the official tourist website of Dubai's Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTMC). The website is part of a larger campaign aimed at Western tourists and promotes Dubai as a safe and modern holiday destination. The DTMC aggressively advertises Dubai Tourism all over the world; as per their website, "The marketing mix of DTCM-Dubai comprises of very strong, strategic placement of media campaigns in print, electronic and outdoor, which reaches the target audiences... the media vehicle, language and the creative are all tailor made to suit that market."
The government-created DTMC website, which advertises itself as an all-in-one tourist resource, fails to mention any of the new, strict laws that ensnare Western travelers in Dubai's prisons daily. One Dubai law states that trace amounts of drugs used before coming to Dubai in the traveler's system count as "drug possession," a crime punished with a four-year jail sentence. This includes legal, prescribed drugs for health conditions (examples include codeine and similar narcotic-like drugs prescribed for pain).
Since the launch of this concentrated campaign for Le-Huy's release, the DTMC have responded favorably and have indicated that they will include more information about Dubai drug laws as well as the penalties travelers face for breaking them.
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and you will receive a prompt response.
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