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  • Writer's pictureDue Process International

Spanish pilot left traumatised after CID abduction from Dubai Expo

The aviation enthusiast has taken to Twitter to warn people to avoid the United Arab Emirates after blindfolded arrest left him traumatised

A Spanish pilot has spoken about his traumatic experience after being detained in Dubai when visiting the World Expo

Santi Blánquez was visiting Dubai Expo when he was inexplicably marched into a car, blindfolded and taken to a national security prison where he was interrogated and forced to sign a document in Arabic without a translator.

Dubai’s CID police reviewed his phone, surveilled his aviation photography and again, without explanation, blindfolded Santi and drove him to the outskirts of a city where they abandoned him. The young pilot has taken to Twitter to warn people to avoid the UAE.

Sadly, Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai explains, this is not uncommon.

“It is outrageous that CID detained a Spanish citizen for what appears to be “national security” concerns because he photographs planes.

“Plane photography is a common hobby and profession, especially for aviation enthusiasts. Santi is only fortunate that he was detained for two days. Other innocent visitors have spent months isolated in national security prisons where there is no onus on authorities to even inform Embassies. We represented two British nationals who were detained for four months simply for being ‘planespotting’ enthusiasts. They were not breaking the law but somehow were considered a national security issue.

“It is standard practice for detainees to be forced to sign documents in Arabic without a translator and more often than not, these turn out to be false confessions. It is understandable that Santi is traumatised by his experience and it’s shocking that he was dumped on the outskirts of the city. The European Parliament voted to boycott Dubai Expo due to human rights concerns but unfortunately, most visitors are still unaware that they could face arbitrary arrest and detention for ‘crimes' they have not committed.”




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