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  • Writer's pictureDue Process International

British - Australian grandfather FREED from Dubai

Updated: May 26, 2022

William Meyerhoff, a British/Australian grandfather with dementia, has been freed from Dubai prison after support from Detained in Dubai.

Family relieved after William Meyerhoff is finally released from Dubai jail. The 72 year old suffers dementia and was cared for by fellow British grandfather, Albert Douglas, while in prison.

Fellow prisoner Albert Douglas, described William as ‘on death’s door’ after he was arrested for ten-year-old bounced cheques he did not write. William was en route to Australia to stay with his family when he was taken into custody at Dubai’s international airport.

The 72 year old man who suffers from dementia was cared for in prison by fellow British inmate and grandfather Albert Douglas, was also detained over cheques that have since been forensically proved, he did not write.

William’s 44 year old son, Matthew, spoke to Australian media about his father’s situation, begging for his safe return.

While in custody and after media attention, Albert and William were taken to a luxury 2 bedroom apartment within the prison where authorities confirmed they would release William and also look into Albert’s case. William was deported to Africa last week where his flight had originated from. His family are now desperately trying to arrange his safe passage to Australia.

Meanwhile, Albert Douglas is set to go in front of a medical board who are to assess his health and whether he should return to Britain to undergo further surgeries after his bones were broken by prison guards at Al Ain earlier this year. “The effect of being in prison for almost a year, where he was deprived of his heart medication and medical help for injuries incurred as a result of brutality is severe. Albert’s innocence was just proven in court by Dubai’s own experts but he’s still in prison and still hasn’t had his broken bones repaired. It’s been so long now that the bones have to be re-broken to be mended”. said son Wolfgang Douglas.

Albert Douglas became William’s carer in prison and was able to communicate with his family and update them on his health. “We are very pleased that Dubai authorities decided to deport William. It was clear that his health was failing and he would not last the five year sentence that was ruled in absentia”, added Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai who is helping both Albert and William. “It is clear that the bounced cheque laws need to be reconsidered. Debtors' prison has no place in the modern world and many expats have been locked up without any actual evidence that it was in fact, their cheque. Banks and businesses have exploited the cheque laws to lock foreigners up as a mechanism to extort their families.

“Even after paying a government fine or completing a prison sentence, foreigners will be indefinitely held in the UAE until such time as they pay the cheque. For most, this means forever. Thousands of expats have faced homelessness and become suicidal under these outdated laws where they are no longer allowed to work as their employment visa is suspended, but they not allowed to leave either. This makes no sense. When expats are allowed to leave the UAE and return to their home countries, they can seek employment and negotiate repayment plans with banks or companies. This makes sense and we help hundreds of people every year reach settlements from abroad.

“We are grateful that William was released and will soon be reunited with his family in Australia. We hope we can say the same for Albert Douglas and the many others who are in the same situation now. PTSD sufferer and Afghanistan veteran Shannon Johnston was stopped in transit like William.

“There are simply too many of these sad stories that could all have been averted by enacting modern laws and mutual debt enforcement agreements in allied nations. The UAE must also consider penalties against banks, individuals and companies who deliberately persecute or pursue innocent expats like Albert Douglas. This practice is corrupt and it has to stop if the UAE is to offer a safe haven for investors and expat professionals”.

“We thank HH Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum and the Dubai authorities for resolving William's freedom”.




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