UK football fan launches new legal action after alleged torture in UAE

A British football fan is launching a legal action against six senior officials in the United Arab Emirates after claims of torture and false imprisonment while he was on holiday there in 2019.

Ali Issa Ahmad, 28, a Sudanese-born British citizen, went on holiday to UAE in January 2019 to attend the AFC Asian Cup, which was hosted by UAE between 5 January and 1 February 2019.

He says that while he was there he was falsely imprisoned and suffered assault and battery, intentional infliction of harm including psychiatric harm and negligence while he was detained in Sharjah, UAE, between 23 January and 12 February 2019.

On Thursday, Ahmad sent letters of claim for damages against the six officials, including counsellor Saqr Saif Al Naqbi, head of state security public prosecution in Abu Dhabi, Maj Gen Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, commander in chief of the Abu Dhabi police, and Maj Gen Ahmed Naser Ahmed Al Dahri, second in command of the Abu Dhabi state security department.

Ahmad’s problems started when he wore a football shirt bearing the Qatari logo when he attended a match at Al-Nayhan stadium in Abu Dhabi between Qatar and Iraq on 22 January 2019. He was approached by officials and said he received racist abuse from them and was ordered to remove the Qatari shirt.

The following day he was stopped again by officials and says he was seriously assaulted before being detained and imprisoned. At the time the UAE authorities put out a statement saying that he had inflicted the injuries on himself, and accused him of wasting police time.

Ahmad is being represented by Carter-Ruck solicitors in his legal action. He 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. They tried to make it look as though I did these things to myself, that I cut and burned myself. It is so cruel that they did this.

“The UAE authorities have ignored all my complaints and there has been no investigation and no one held accountable. I have decided to launch a civil case against those 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.”

The then Foreign and Commonwealth Office lodged a complaint with the UAE authorities about Ahmad’s treatment but it is understood no response was received.

The UAE embassy has been approached for comment.


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