After spending nearly two years imprisoned in Dubai, former Leeds United managing director David Haigh has revealed the details of his abuse at the hands of Emirati police.
The Yorkshire-born businessman has publicly spoken out about the ordeal for the first time since his release. He was kept at Bur Dubai police station, a notorious holding site where British tourist Lee Brown died in 2011, following an alleged beating by local police.
For the time being, Haigh is legally prohibited from disclosing the extensive details of his treatment in the United Arab Emirates, but he told the Yorkshire Post he was abused “quite badly.”
“They came and got me in the middle of the night, they took me outside to the car park, then moved me into a room, and then I was quite seriously physically abused, tasered, whacked in the face, made to stand in strange positions, and told repeatedly ‘where is the money,’” he stated.
The 38-year-old solicitor also said he was forced by investigators to confess to his alleged crimes.
“I was told if I confessed I could go home. I said I wouldn’t confess, I didn’t do it, you can carry on torturing me,” he added.
Haigh was first taken into custody in the Gulf city in May 2014 on suspicion of embezzlement, fraud and money laundering. He was held without charge for 14 months and all his worldwide assets were frozen.
Later, over accusations of financial irregularities made by his former Dubai-based employer Gulf Finance House, he was sentenced to two years in prison, most of which he had already served.
A day before Haigh was to be released and deported back to the United Kingdom, on Nov. 16, 2015, GFH brought forth new allegations against him, this time, accusing him of sending “abuse by electronic means” in tweets.
Haigh vehemently denied the claims, saying he couldn’t have sent the tweets, given the fact that he had no internet access in jail.
Finally, last month, he was acquitted in the cyberslander charges and sent back home over Easter. Haigh referred to his release as the end to a "22-month nightmare."
In order to save others his terrible fate in the Gulf city, which is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Haigh said the British government should do more to make people aware of the do's and don't's of visiting Dubai.
“I want the British Embassy to make a travel warning, to people, tourists and businessmen who go to Dubai, that you need to be aware of the law on social media, you can end up in jail. You need to be aware of the law on cheques, the law on all these things. Don’t paint the picture that it is 100 percent rosy,” he said.