Human rights charity Reprieve has criticized London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for training and praising United Arab of Emirates (UAE) police officers, a force known for torturing and abusing its prisoners.
The MPS has confirmed a delegation of the Security Support Department at Abu Dhabi Police recently traveled to London for a two-week visit last month to take part in “daily patrol field tasks and various training activities.”
The joint training activities with the MPS included the use of “advanced equipment and devices to handle moderate and high-risk security incidents.”
Further exercises included drills, methods for tactical firearm use and marksmanship, alongside implementing various security scenarios.
Colonel Khaled Al Shamesi, Head of the Security Support Department at Abu Dhabi Police, said the visit aimed to promote the exchange of field expertise in the areas of security support.
The inspector and training manager at the Metropolitan Police Specialist Training Centre (MPSTC), Lee Spittlehouse, said he was impressed by the officers’ “exceptional firearm skills and professionalism.”
The MPS Chief of Operations Dave Moss also praised Abu Dhabi Police for their “professionalism and sophistication in carrying out difficult and dangerous tasks.”
Moss expressed his admiration for the officers’ “expertise, physical fitness and their intellect; placing them among the most effective security members worldwide.”
In a statement, the MPS said the UAE officers are “on par with the best international experts in this field.”
“The exchange of expertise was a success and we were able to achieve the objective of the task through implementing the best international standards in the field of training and security scenarios,” Captain Jassem Muhammad Al Zaabi commented on the visit.
Condemning the MPS’s actions, Reprieve demanded urgent answers from the Home Office, calling the joint training “alarming.”
“The Abu Dhabi police’s victims include Indian citizen Ezhur Gangadharan, whose bogus statements under torture led to a death sentence, while Brits such as Ahmad Zeidan, who remains unjustly locked up, have also been brutally tortured in the UAE,” Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team Director Maya Foa told the Morning Star.
“It’s alarming, therefore, to see British officers training alongside UAE police in vaguely drawn ‘security scenarios’ – apparently including ‘the use of weapons to apprehend suspects,’” she said.
In December 2013, Ahmad Zeidan, 22, was arrested and jailed in UAE for nine years after police found £3 worth of cocaine in the car in which he was traveling.
The British student, originally from Reading, claimed police tortured him into falsely admitting to drug charges.
Reprieve accused the government of “neglecting” Zeidan after Prime Minister David Cameron failed to respond to his emotional plea, begging the PM to “get me out of what I’m going through.”
The human rights charity has represented many people who complained of being tortured and abused by UAE police.