British football fan begins legal action over 'UAE torture'

British man 'arrested for wearing Qatar shirt' sues UAE officials over alleged torture, false imprisonment
3 min read
28 May, 2021
The British football fan alleged that he was falsely imprisoned and tortured 'for wearing a Qatar football shirt' to a 2019 Asian Cup match in the UAE.
Ahmad has now issued letters of claim against the Emirati officials [Getty]

Six UAE figures are facing civil action from a British football fan who alleges that he was tortured in the country in 2019.

The action is being taken against Counsellor Saqr Saif Al Naqbi, who is in charge of Abu Dhabi's State Security Public Prosecution, along with the commanders-in-chief of the Abu Dhabi and Sharjah police forces.

A statement from Carter-Ruck Solicitors on Thursday said Ali Issa Ahmad had issued the six with formal letters of claim, asserting damages against them.

He appears to have set up a legal fundraiser on CrowdJustice in 2019, saying: "I was tortured in the UAE for wearing a Qatar football shirt at an Asian Cup [m]atch."

Ahmad, who was born in Sudan, is alleging false imprisonment and "intentional affliction of harm including psychiatric harm", among others violations, against them all. Al Naqbi is also accused of malicious prosecution, according to his solicitors' statement.

Ahmad, from Wolverhampton and a security guard, said: "I have been waiting for too long for justice for what happened to me.

"I was very badly tortured and nearly killed in prison in the UAE."

His lawyers say he was wrongfully detained and tortured after going to a football game for the Asian Cup.

Ahmad was allegedly asked by authorities at the match to take off a Qatar shirt, to which he complied.

He alleges that he was then attacked, allowed to leave, and then eventually arrested after wearing another Qatari shirt to the beach.

He maintains he had no idea demonstrating "sympathy" with Qatar was criminalised, according to a July 2019 Guardian article.

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Ahmad also alleges that while detained he was subjected to violations including electrocution and physical assault, during which he lost a tooth from being hit.

For its part, the UAE in 2019 claimed "a doctor who examined him, concluded that his injuries were inconsistent with his account of events and appeared to be self-inflicted".

They said he "was charged with wasting police time and making false statements", rejecting the assertion he had been detained over a Qatar shirt.  

Ahmad claimed in Thursday's press release there were attempts to hide what happened to him.

"They tried to make it look as though I did these things to myself, that I cut and burnt myself."

"It is so cruel and wrong that they did this," he continued.

The football supporter was held from 23 January to 12 February 2019, according to his lawyers' press release.

Three-year Qatar blockade
Click here to enlarge image (May 2020)


He said he had raised complaints with the UAE but "there has been no investigation, and no-one held accountable."

"I have decided to launch a civil case against who are responsible for torturing me so that the truth can come out and there can finally be justice for the terrible things that were done to me."

Just this Tuesday, two Qatari nationals began legal action that also relates to alleged torture in the UAE.

They are claiming damages against the Abu Dhabi Media Company over a UK broadcast.

They say the state-funded Abu Dhabi Channel displayed "private information" in June 2017 when it broadcast what they claim were forced confessions.