Friends demand release of Hampstead man held in Dubai
A HAMPSTEAD businessman is being held in Dubai without charge over alleged drug offences
A HAMPSTEAD businessman is being held in Dubai without charge over alleged drug offences.
Cat Le-Huy, who is head of technology at media giant Endemol and lives in Garnett Road, was arrested as he arrived in Dubai on January 26.
He was strip-searched, forced to provide a urine sample and had some sleeping pills, which he bought over the counter in United Arab Emirates, confiscated.
He was then forced to sign a document in Arabic, which he does not speak, and his lawyers believe it could be a confession.
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He has now been detained at the airport deportation centre for nearly two weeks, with the detention period extended by a further two weeks without any hearing or charges being pressed.
Radha Stirling, from Futurecorp, who are co-ordinating Mr le-Huy's legal representation, said: "It has been quite scary in that they initially said he would be held for 24 hours, then that was 48 hours, which became a week, and then they added a further two weeks.
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"We are worried he will be held for three to six months without any charge or any hearing.
"We spoke last night and he feels isolated. He doesn't know how much support he has on the outside.
"Apart from being a vegetarian and having problems with the food, he is bearing up quite well. There are a lot of businessmen who have been held there longer than him.
"We have hired legal representatives, who are drug specialists, but until we get back the results of the drug tests not much can be done."
The legal team are also awaiting a copy of the document Mr Le-Huy signed, so that they can have it translated.
Mr Le-Huy was tomorrow (Thursday) due to be transferred from the airport prison to a cell at the police station.
They are also desperately seeking assurances from the Dubai authorities that if any tests come back negative Mr Le-Huy will be released.
The sleeping tablets the customs staff took from Mr Le-Huy were Melatonin which, whilst available over the counter in the UAE, require a prescription in the UK.
Nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition to the Emir of Dubai: "We, the undersigned, wish to appeal to you and to the governing bodies of Dubai to forgive this innocent oversight and grant him swift deportation rather than a prison sentence.
"He is a gentle and warm friend, husband, brother and son who is actively involved in animal welfare, supports the arts and writes music.
"Behind bars, his contribution is lost to the world, and we urge you to pardon this kind and generous man and return him to the country and the people who love him.