Brit tourist beaten and starved to death by cruel prison guards in Dubai

A Brit holidaying in Dubai died from a beating given to him by local police, an inquest was told.

The coroner found that Lee Brown, 39, was also starved by them.

The businessman's family has accused British Foreign Office officials of not doing enough to prevent the death and “putting diplomatic relations above the welfare of Mr Brown”.

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According to officials in the Gulf state, Mr Brown had “beaten himself up”, but other inmates said he was beaten and starved – and they even managed to call the man's family to tell them.

The Londoner had flown to the Gulf state on April 6, 2011, and planned to stop off for a few days on his way to visit his girlfriend in Indonesia.

Walthamstow Coroner's Court was told he allegedly assaulted a maid at the Burj Al Arab Hotel the following day before being taken to the notorious Bur Dubai police station, where he died five days later.

Inquest jurors were told no footage of the alleged incident or his time in the police station has ever been provided by authorities in the UAE, despite requests for it.

In a statement taken after his arrest, Mr Brown claimed that someone who did not work at the hotel had come in and pushed him out.

When he returned, he said 20 people were in his room and he was later beaten and dragged to the police station in just his underwear.

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He was taken to the public prosecutor’s office where he is said to have “thrown himself on the floor, jumped on chairs and sustained superficial injuries to his face, arm and chest”.

He then spent four days detained in the prison where his condition deteriorated.

In the evening of April 11 his brother Steve and sister-in-law Susanne received a panicked call from another detained Brit who told them their loved one was “in a very bad way” and at risk of dying in custody.

The inmate told them: “You have got to get help – if it carries on, Lee could die. He has been beaten badly by the police, he is in a really bad way.

“Get help and get the British Embassy to ask for help immediately.”

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In a second call the next morning, someone told them: “The Dubai police have beaten him very badly, he has not been fed or given water, he has been in solitary handcuffed, there are shackles around his ankles, he seems to be sleeping and is going in and out of consciousness.

“There is blood dripping down his face and chest from a nose injury and he has a cut to the temple area of his head.”

Just hours later a Foreign Office official visited the prison but was told Mr Brown was asleep and was turned away.

His parents Steve and Susanne flew to Dubai and visited the police station, prosecutor's office and hotel within 24 hours before flying back as they were too afraid to sleep there.

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The couple were told CCTV showed Mr Brown had beaten himself up “by throwing his arms around”, but when they asked to see the footage they were told it was “too grainy”.

She added: “I feel concerned that protecting the safety of Brits is not as important to embassy staff as diplomatic relations with their hosts.

“I feel let down that every piece of information came not from the Foreign Office but from prisoners and well wishers at great personal risks to themselves.”

The jury inquest is expected to last until Friday.

The Daily Star has contacted the FCDO for comment.

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