The Qatari national who was imprisoned for two years by the UAE on false charges has opened up about the nightmare for the first time.
Mahmoud al Jaidah spoke about his two-year-ordeal in which he became a pawn in the Gulf states’ regional power struggle, suffering abuse, isolation and mental anguish at the hands of the Dubai authorities.
A doctor at Qatar Petroleum, Jaidah was arrested in Dubai in February 2013, while he was returning from Thailand to visit his brother, who had a stroke. Meanwhile he got a news that his wife needed an operation in Bahrain and so returned to the Gulf to see her, via Dubai airport.
He went to a mosque to perform his evening prayers, while returning to the airport, he was stopped by a security guard at the immigration control.
He said ‘We will kill you, nobody will know about you. We have here a grave, we will kill you, nobody will know’
After being searched and questioned, Jaidah was asked to come to the police station to put his signature to a document confirming the authorities had interviewed him.”I said ‘No I will not go, I need my embassy to talk to them and I need my lawyer.’
“He said ‘OK, you are right, just come to the police station, we will allow you to talk to your embassy from there.'”
He was taken to a car where he was blindfolded and then he was taken to a building in an unknown location. He was forced to change from his traditional thawb into pyjamas.
After being led down a corridor, again blindfolded, he was subjected to the first of what were to be many interrogations, all largely focusing on the Qatari government and its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian group Hamas.
“He [the interrogator] started asking me ‘Why do Qatar interfere in everything?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, I cannot answer this. Ask the Qatari government.”
The guards asked him whether he had brought any money to the UAE, accusing him of having brought 100,000 dirhams ($27,000).”I said ‘I never brought any money.’ Then they started hitting me with a stick.”
He was repeatedly beaten by the guards and he was kept in a small cell for three days. He was interrogated continuously with no sleep.
At one point, Jaidah claims, he was given drugged water, which caused him to begin”laughing without any reason” and become highly talkative.
He added that the guards threatened to electrocute him, pull out his fingernails and bury him up to his neck in the sand.”The guard told me ‘Don’t worry, even up to killing you, we have the authority.'”