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Belgian man held in Dubai for nearly a year due to verbal accusation

19:36 22/06/2021

A Belgian man has been effectively held hostage by authorities in Dubai for nearly a year, according to a report by VRT. Reporters with Radio 2 had difficulties getting a hold of the man from Dilbeek but were finally able to speak to him recently via Whatsapp.

Last year, Johan Daumerie had a conflict with a business partner in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The partner apparently made a verbal accusation against him of ‘abuse of trust’, and authorities confiscated Daumerie’s passport and initiated a travel ban against him.

“I’ve been living in a hotel room for 11 months,” Daumerie told Radio 2. Aside from not being allowed to leave the country, he travel visa has run out. “I’m now here illegally, so if I leave the hotel, I risk getting arrested.”  

The hotel room is not being provided by authorities in Dubai but rather friends of Daumerie. He himself has no access to his own funds.

Day in court

Finally last week Daumerie got his day in court, which he hoped would bring an end to the situation. “I was sentenced to jail in a tiny room behind the actual courtroom. It was a room no larger than a bathroom. The procedure took three minutes. I received a minimum of one month in prison and must pay a fine of €230,000.”

Daumerie was not offered the services of a lawyer and not allowed to speak on his own behalf during the short hearing. “All on the basis of a verbal accusation,” he said. “I don’t even really know what I have done to be sentenced.” He has never seen any formal complaint nor any written confirmation of the verdict.

The Belgian embassy in Abu Dhabi has been no help, so Daumerie is hoping that Belgium’s foreign affairs department can provide some kind of assistance. “A few politicians in Belgium are aware of the situation,” he said. “I hope they can convince foreign affairs to intervene.”

Federal parliamentarian Peter De Roover (N-VA) confirmed that he has written a letter to foreign affairs minister Sophie Wilmès (MR). “I want to know if they are aware of this and if the man is at fault or the victim of an unfair trial. I also want to know what steps have been taken or will be taken by foreign affairs in this matter.”

Photo courtesy VRT

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw