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Turkey businessman's lawyers complain to UN after UAE tortures detainee

Mehmet Ali Ozturk [eurovizyon]

Lawyers of Turkish businessman Mehmet Ali Ozturk, who has been detained in the UAE for nearly three years, have filed an urgent complaint to the United Nations accusing the Emirati authorities of torturing their client.

On 20 February 2018, Ozturk was arrested in Dubai after arriving in the country with his wife, Amina Ozturk, to attend the Gulfood Manufacturing Fair.

In an earlier statement to Anadolu Agency, Amina said that a group of people wearing civilian clothes tied her and her husband's hands before taking them to an unknown location. Her husband remained in custody while she was released and sent to Turkey. He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.

According to a statement, "lawyers of the Turkish businessman Mehmet Ali Ozturk submitted an urgent request to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention."

The statement said that "Ozturk was severely tortured and his life was in danger. His son was used to pressure him for a defamatory confession against Turkey and its leadership."

The statement added that "the UAE committed crimes of arbitrary and unjust detention and torture, in violation of United Nations conventions and the rules of international law, as Ozturk was questioned under torture upon his arrest."

According to the statement, "Ozturk was dunked in cold water during interrogation, and iron rods were placed on his back. He was deprived of sleep for three days, beaten and splashed with cold water when he tried to sleep."

READ: Turkey aid worker detained, tortured by UAE, forced to accuse Erdogan of crimes

"In an attempt to suffocate him, they put a towel on his head and poured water on top of his mouth. He was detained in a small cell for a long time and deprived of food, which made him lose 25 kilogrammes."

"At the same time, his son Abdullah Ozturk, who is studying in the United States, was repeatedly taken from his house and questioned several times by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, while preventing him from travelling to Turkey for a while," the statement added.

The UAE authorities have made no comment.

Last month, Ozturk's lawyers applied to the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (HREIT) and the National Mechanism to Prevent and Combat Torture (MNCPT) to put pressure Abu Dhabi to release their client.

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