UAE torture victim found dead in Netherlands
40 year old Artur Ligeska was sadly found dead in his Amsterdam apartment last Monday.
Artur was arrested in Dubai after a friendship with an Abu Dhabi Sheikh became obsessive. It led to a false allegation of drug possession and his subsequent detention in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But Artur’s nightmare was only just beginning. He was repeatedly beaten, raped and tortured in one of the UAE’s most brutal prisons. The Sheikh visited Artur in prison, bringing him Starbucks even though he was responsible for Artur’s detention. It was tormenting.
Artur desperately called for help over a phone call, knowing he would likely be placed in solitary confinement, but he couldn’t be silent anymore. In a court case that lasted 5 minutes, his whole life was ruined. He had to take the risk.
Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, was contacted by the family to help lobby for Artur’s release. Just a few months later, Artur, who had been sentenced to life in Abu Dhabi prison, telephoned Stirling to surprise her with the delightful news that he was home safe in Poland. “It’s always exciting to hear how happy someone is to suddenly have their freedom back. Everything is looked upon in a different way. Everything seems sweeter, the coffee, the sunsets, the aromas, but there is also a feeling of isolation and a difficulty to adjust to normal life again.
“When Artur told me the details of the human rights abuses and torture he suffered, I was appalled. It was not the first time I had heard a detailed account of someone’s abuse, but it is very difficult to imagine kind souls being egregiously harmed in this way. It is truly sick.
“Artur and I became good friends as he rebuilt his life in Poland. He was enthusiastic, positive and a beautiful person. He wrote the best selling book “A Sheikhs Love”, began campaigning for human rights generally, speaking at events, to the media and raising awareness about Abu Dhabi’s prison, especially calling for the release of Ahmed Mansoor who was his cell neighbour.
“Artur was ambitious and inspired, immediately working on a documentary “Isolation Cell 32”, directed by Hossam Meneai. Artur talked honestly about his experiences that were clearly painful to discuss.