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British man detained in UAE details abuse over Qatar shirt | UK News

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A British man, who was detained and allegedly harassed in the United Arab Emirates for wearing a Qatar football shirt during the AFC Asian Cup, was convinced he was going to die in the Gulf state, according to a UK media report. 

Ali Issa Ahmad, who was charged last month for making false statements and wasting police time after he claimed getting beaten up by Emirati fans for supporting the Qatari team, arrived in the UK on Thursday following his release earlier this week.

In an interview with the Guardian published on Friday, the dual Sudanese-British citizen said he was stabbed in prison and deprived of sleep, food and water for several days while being held in a security building.

“I thought 100 percent that I was going to die in the UAE,” the 26-year-old told the British newspaper. “I thought I would commit suicide rather than letting them kill me.”

Ahmad, from Wolverhampton in central England and an Arsenal fan, was in the UAE on holiday when he wore Qatar’s jersey at the team’s group match against Iraq on January 22 without knowing that showing sympathy for Qatar is punishable in the Emirati state. Offenders face a jail term of up to 15 years. 

The sanctions were imposed after the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”. Doha has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations.

Culture of fear 

Ahmad said he was approached by officials at the match in Abu Dhabi and asked to hand over the shirt, which he did. But he said he was later followed back to his hotel in Dubai. 

The Briton claimed he was punched in the face, knifed, handcuffed and left bleeding by security officials after he wore a different Qatar shirt at a beach the next day. 

“I thought they were going to kill me,” he said before he was eventually let go.  

Ahmad called an ambulance and had his injuries treated at a hospital, but was later detained for allegedly lying to the police about the assault. 

According to a statement by the UAE embassy in London, Ahmad was charged on January 24 as “his injuries were inconsistent with his account of the event and appeared to be self-inflicted”. 

A UAE official quoted in the embassy statement also rejected claims that Ahmad was arrested for wearing a Qatar football shirt.

He was held in a police cell in the Emirati city of Sharjah until February 12, before flying back to the UK on Wednesday. 

This is the latest case in a number of alleged abuses by Emirati security personnel, who have been accused of torture and depriving prisoners of sleep while in detention.  

Rights groups, lawyers and victims say there is a culture of fear for those who fall into the hands of the UAE authorities and are arbitrarily arrested, and unfairly tried, in some cases for ludicrous allegations.

Ahmad’s detention comes more than two months after British academic Matthew Hedges was released by the UAE by a presidential pardon after spending more than six months in prison in an espionage case.

He had been sentenced to life in prison for spying, escalating a diplomatic tussle between the UAE and Britain.

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Ottawa announces new funding to combat online child abuse

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Ottawa has announced $22 million in funding to fight online child abuse.

Noting that police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Tuesday.

It follows a London meeting last week that focused on the exploitation of children between Goodale and his counterparts from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, collectively known as the Five Eyes intelligence group.

Major internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, were also at the meeting and agreed to a set of rules the members of the group proposed to remove child pornography from the internet quicker.

On Tuesday, Goodale warned internet companies they had to be better, faster and more open when in comes to fighting child abuse on line.

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, detectives use the Cellebrite system to extract information from cellphones at the State Police facility in Hamilton Township, N.J. “Operation Safety Net,” the results of which were announced in December, netted 79 people suspected of exploiting children. (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press/Canadian Press)

“If human harm is done, if a child is terrorized for the rest of their life because of what happened to them on the internet, if there are other damages and costs, then maybe the platform that made that possible should bear the financial consequences,” Goodale said.

The government plan includes $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles, $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations and $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.

Goodale said the strategy recognizes that technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”

That, he said, makes investigations increasingly complex,

“This is a race where the course is always getting longer and more complicated and advancing into brand new areas that hadn’t been anticipated five years ago or a year ago or even a week ago,” Goodale said.

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Gas prices expected to dip in Ottawa

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If you can wait an extra day to fill up the gas tank, your bank account might thank you.

Roger McKnight of Enpro is predicting a five cent dip in gas prices Wednesday night at midnight.

This comes after a four cent drop this past Friday, just ahead of the August long weekend.

McKnight said the reason for the drop, both last week and this week, is due to comments made by US President Donald Trump. 

He says after the drop, the price will be, on average, 118.9 cents/litre in the Ottawa region.

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Oka asks Ottawa to freeze Mohawk land deal, send RCMP to Kanesatake

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The town of Oka is asking the federal and provincial governments to slap a moratorium on a proposed land grant to the local Mohawk community in Kanesatake and to establish an RCMP detachment on the First Nations territory to deal with illegal cannabis sales outlets.

The requests were contained in two resolutions adopted Tuesday night by the Oka town council.

The administration of Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon held its first public meeting since the start of the controversy that pitted the town council against the Kanesatake band council over a decision by a local promoter to give local lands to the Mohawk community.

The three resolutions are addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Quebec Premier François Legault’s government and the Kanesatake band council led by Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.

As each resolution was read into the record, Quevillon stressed that the town of Oka was only looking to live in peaceful cohabitation with the Mohawk community.

The town also called upon Ottawa to establish a consultation process that would take into account the concerns of residents in Oka and  Kanesatake.

Quevillon’s administration also wants access to the plans detailing what lands are at the centre of negotiations between the federal government and the Mohawk community for purchase, suggesting the talks are simply a disguised form of expropriation.

“They’re giving money to (the Mohawks) to buy our land and annex it to their territory,” Quevillon said.

Despite its demands, the Oka council adopted an official statement addressed to the Kanesatake band council saying the town’s population wanted dialogue and peaceful cohabitation, with Quevillon citing the 300 years of close links between the two communities.

During the council meeting’s question period, some residents suggested that the council deal with other groups that say they are speaking for Kanesatake, including Mohawk traditionalists. Mayor Quevillon replied that the town would only deal with the band council and did so out of respect for Grand Chief Simon.

The mayor also argued that the RCMP, a federal police force, was best suited to be deployed in Kanesatake, where it would ensure the law would be respected, particularly on the issue of illegal cannabis shops.

Quevillon contended such a deployment was the only way for both communities to work together toward their mutual economic development.

Meanwhile, the apology Grand Chief Simon has said he is expecting from Quevillon for remarks he made earlier this summer about the Mohawk community in Kanesatake does not appear to be coming any time soon.

Asked by a resident if he would apologize, Quevillon left the answer to those citizens who attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom replied, “no.”

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