German national Dieter Kellouche, 42, has been attacked in a UAE prison where he is serving a life sentence. Last night, Kellouche was assaulted in his cell by another inmate who forcibly pulled him off the top bunk of his bed, resulting in multiple fractures in his right foot. Dieter was taken to hospital, but immediately returned to the prison because the facility had no spare beds. He is now suffering severe swelling and complications in detention, waiting for a vacancy in the hospital. Dieter has not been visited by the German embassy in over a year.
“Dieter is a quiet, peaceful man locked up with violent criminals,” Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said. “The injustice of his case is staggering. He has been shamefully abandoned by the German government; he had no chance to defend himself in court – the Germans did nothing. He went on a hunger strike – the Germans did nothing. He has now been viciously assaulted in prison – the Germans are doing nothing. What will it take for the German government to intervene?”
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Dieter Kellouche was arrested in 2017 and quickly convicted on the orders of prominent Emirati Sheikh Mohammed Sultan Bin Huwaiden Al Ketbi, a cousin of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed – arguably the most powerful man in the Emirates – when he approached Al Ketbi outside his home to say ‘hello’. Though the two were friends, Al Ketbi didn’t recognise Dieter and physically struck him for daring to greet him. He then had Dieter arrested, presumably to cover up his own mistake, and the court summarily sentenced him to a life term.
“This is the culture of the UAE, anyone in the ruling family can act with impunity and the court system genuflects to their wishes,” Stirling said, “Dieter and Al Ketbi were close acquaintances, they even travelled together and regularly socialised. For whatever reason, Al Ketbi didn’t recognise Dieter when he approached him, and reflexively attacked him – because he is entitled to assault whoever he likes as a royal. Once he recognised Dieter, he apologised, but the altercation had been witnessed by others, so to save face, Al Ketbi had Dieter arrested on trumped up charges and convicted. It is an absolutely outrageous case, and Dieter’s suffering gets worse by the day.
“Sharjah Central Jail is notoriously dangerous, with nonviolent inmates detained alongside murderers and rapists; brutal guards, where beatings, electrocution, and torture are commonplace. Dieter has not been visited by his embassy in over a year, even though the standard protocol mandates monthly or bi-monthly visits to ensure foreign nationals’ wellbeing in what, by any measure, is a cruel and unusual environment. He is being denied urgent medical care, and was sent right back amongst ruthless criminals in an even more vulnerable state. He was attacked by an inmate who wanted his cup of instant noodles – we are talking about an utterly merciless place where an innocent, and now severely injured man is being left to fend for himself, potentially for the rest of his life. It is simply disgraceful, and the German government needs to take action. Dieter is not safe, his life is at risk, and all of this because an Emirati royal does not want to feel embarrassed.”
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