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      source Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org (Beirut) - The United Arab Emirates attorney general should immediately drop all charges against five pro-democracy activists to halt their trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges of "humiliating" top officials relate solely to the defendants' peaceful use of speech to criticize the UAE governmen […]
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Archive for April 27th, 2009

Abu Dhabi ruling family linked to ‘torture’ video

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 27, 2009


source Telegraph UK

The emergence of a video purporting to show a senior member of the United Arab Emirates’ ruling family co-ordinating the torture of a businessman has threatened to tarnish the reputation of the pro-Western, oil-rich Gulf state.

The video purports to show Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, the half-brother of the Manchester City owner, Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, participating in the torture of an Afghan grain dealer with whom he had had a disagreement.

The al Nahyan clan’s position as rulers of Abu Dhabi, the biggest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, means they have also acted as hereditary rulers of the state since it was founded in 1971.

At a desert location under cover of darkness the torture victim, Mohammed Shah Poor, is held down and has sand stuffed down his throat.

Bullets are then fired near his feet in the sand and he is beaten with a plank of wood from which nails protruded. Salt is then rubbed into his open wounds. An electric cattle prod is also used on part of his body while his genitals are soaked in lighter fluid, which is then set alight.

The coup de grace comes when Mr Nahyan appears to drive a Mercedes SUV over the victim, accompanied by what seems to be the sound of breaking bones. Mr Nahyan is heard on the video seeming to co-ordinate the torture assisted by uniformed members of what seem to be the UAE police force and army.

The tape, broadcast last week by the American television channel, ABC, has already led to calls for the United States to reconsider its commercial ties with the UAE, the tiny but wealthy state that includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

James McGovern, a US congressman, has called for a freeze on government aid to the Emirates.

He also called for Mr Nahyan to be refused a US visa.

In a letter to Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, Mr McGovern said: “I cannot describe the horror and revulsion I felt when witnessing what is on this video … I could not watch it without constantly flinching.”

ABC put up a section of the video on its website, although sections containing the most shocking material, including the use of the cattle prod, were not released.

The tape was given to ABC by Bassam Nabulsi, a US citizen and Houston businessman, who has begun a legal battle in the American courts against Mr Nahyan for alleged maltreatment and loss of earnings after a business deal went sour.

The UAE government has confirmed Mr Nahyan is the man in the video, although it issued a statement saying the matter had been investigated by its police but no charges were deemed necessary.

The statement said the video was not “part of a pattern of behaviour” and, as permitted under Abu Dhabi law, “the parties involved … settled the matter privately by agreeing not to bring formal charges against each other â ” ie theft on the one hand and assault on the other”.

The ministry of the interior said police followed all necessary procedures when investigating the incident.

Read also:

The Guardian UK

ABC News

Financial Times

Open Letter

German Press Bild Zeitung


Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Compensation for breach of contract – How to Avoid Court? Here’s how…

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 27, 2009


source Rootsland
Over the last 10 years, Dubai has gained international attention due to its extensive growth and progress, particularly in the projects and construction sectors. During that period, deals were often done and contracts entered into quicker than if those deals were being carried out in less dynamic markets.

 It seems that commercial parties relied heavily on their ability to negotiate solutions to any dispute rather than relying too heavily on the terms of their contracts or resorting to litigation or other formal dispute resolution procedures. The same parties may have also taken comfort from the obligation on contracting parties to act in good faith imposed by the UAE’s Civil Transactions Law (the Civil Code).

 Of course the current economic climate is very different. Now financing is more difficult to obtain. This has reduced confidence that negotiation alone will resolve disputes. As companies compete for the limited credit available, contracts are being more extensively negotiated and scrutinized by all parties (including lenders). Parties are no longer relying on the market’s continued growth to push deals through or their obligation to act in good faith. The focus is shifting towards identifying what dispute resolution procedures should apply and what remedies are available if the other contracting party breaches its contractual obligations. One of the remedies receiving greater attention is the damages payable if a contracting party is in breach of a contract. Of course, the protection provided by damages will depend heavily on the offending party’s ability to pay in this market.

Time to review

 Most contracts should have provisions dealing specifically with what will happen when a breach of contract occurs. Often an overarching termination provision exists, in addition to provisions relating to curing defaults, damages and events such as force majeure or change in law, and these all play a role in determining the options available to contracting parties in a variety of circumstances.

 The current environment highlights the need for solid contractual provisions and should be taken as an opportunity for all players in the project and construction sector to regroup and focus on contracts that they have entered into and those that they are about to enter into. Everyone involved in project and construction deals should be asking themselves what they are entitled to if the contract is breached by the other party.

 

Consideration should be given to whether contracts yet to be entered into should specifically address these issues. But what if the decision is taken not to do so or an existing contract does not address damages? The Civil Code provides an entitlement to compensation for breach of contract even where the contract itself does not provide for such compensation.

Damages under UAE Law

The purpose of damages is to compensate a party for any loss suffered as a result of default by counterparty to a contract. If damages for a breach of contract are not fixed under a provision of the law or in the contract itself, the Civil Code gives the court discretion to assess compensation “in an amount equivalent to the damage in fact suffered at the time of the occurrence”. The focus here is on the actual loss suffered by a party and gives the court a broad discretion to determine an appropriate award of damages on the basis of the facts and evidence before it. However, how is the ultimate determination made and what limits are imposed on the amount of compensation that may be awarded?

Other provisions of the Civil Code that do not specifically relate to contractual damages may give some guidance as to how compensation may be assessed by a court: “In all cases the compensation shall be assessed on the basis of the amount of harm suffered by the victim, together with loss of profit, provided that it is the natural result of the harmful act”.

 The key element of this provision is that a party suffering loss will be compensated for that loss, including any loss of profit, which flows naturally from the default. The explanatory memorandum to the Civil Code says damages are payable in respect of the actual loss suffered as well as loss of expectation (that is loss of an opportunity to obtain a benefit under a contract or to avoid a loss).

 Each type of damages claimed will need to be substantiated and shown to result from the breach. Consequential (or indirect) losses will generally only be recoverable where it can be shown that the party causing the loss did so with a malicious intent. While it is important to keep in mind the award of damages is always at the court’s discretion, a specific damages regime in a contract can have the benefit of providing greater certainty as to a party’s right to contractual damages and can assist parties negotiate ways of avoiding recourse to court in this challenging environment.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Compensation for breach of contract – How to Avoid Court? Here’s how…

Jailed Dubai mum Marnie Pearce to be freed by pardon tomorrow

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 27, 2009


source Mirror

Marnie Pearce, the British mum jailed in Dubai for adultery, has won a dramatic pardon and will be set free tomorrow.

Marnie, 40, was locked up after her Egyptian husband falsely claimed she cheated on him. She was supposed to be deported back to Britain after her sentence – which could have meant never seeing her two young sons again.

Now, in a dramatic U-turn by the authorities in Dubai, Marnie is being pardoned and allowed to stay to fight  her ex-husband, Ihab El Labban, for custody of the boys.

In an emotional phone call from prison on the eve of her release, Marnie told the Sunday Mirror: “I didn’t dare believe I would ever have the chance to hug my babies again.

“When I first heard the deportation order was going to be lifted I just felt numb. When the news did sink in I cried tears of joy.”

The U-turn comes after a long-running campaign by the Sunday Mirror and human rights charity Amnesty International, who describe Marnie as a “prisoner of conscience”.

Under the terms of her pardon, the conviction for adultery – which Marnie vehemently denies – will still stand.

But a ruling ordering deportation at the end of her three-month sentence, cut short for good behaviour, has been scrapped.

CAMPAIGN

It means she can stay to fight for custody of sons Laith, eight, and Ziad, four, who were wrenched sobbing from her in heartbreaking scenes filmed on a mobile phone.

El Labban won custody by accusing his wife of adultery – a serious crime punishable by jail under Sharia law – after she exposed his affair with an American woman.

Marnie, from Bracknell, Berks, said: “All I have ever wanted is to stay in Dubai and fight for the chance to see my boys. No mother should be kept from their children.

“It’s a child’s right to see their mother and I’ve got to fight to make sure the boys have the chance to be with me, for their sake as much as mine. I am holding on to the thought that I will be able to hold them, cuddle them and tell them how much I love them and how much I have missed them.”

Marnie’s reprieve came moments before campaigners were due to hand in a petition, signed by 5,000 people, to the United Arab Emirates embassy in London.

he hand-over was cancelled when senior officials at Dubai’s judiciary agreed on Thursday that Marnie’s deportation should be reviewed.

It is believed the decision followed a series of meetings with Foreign Office officials.

On Thursday afternoon a message was sent from the Dubai authorities to prison officials at Central Jail al-Awir, where Marnie is being held, to say that she was not going to be deported.

Marnie, who wed El Labban in the Seychelles in 1999, said: “I want to thank the British public for all the support they have given me – it has really kept me going.

“And I want to thank the Sunday Mirror for helping to raise awareness of my case and keeping it in the public eye.”

POLICE RAID

Marnie, who was not allowed to speak in court to defend herself, was arrested last March along with British ex-pat Brian Clark after El Labban claimed they were having an affair.

When officers raided Marnie’s home they found the pair fully clothed, having a cup of tea.

Yet both were arrested and Marnie was charged when her husband suddenly produced used condoms which he claimed were evidence.

But last month a Sunday Mirror investigation revealed that pharmacist El Labban, 41, was the real love cheat. He had an affair with American businesswoman Tonya Thompson, 46, a mum of two who he met at a sales conference in Dubai.

When Marnie found out she threw him out of their home. Fearing he would lose custody of the children, he then reported Marnie as an adulteress.

Before she was jailed for three months in February, Marnie was forced to hand over her children to El Labban in harrowing scenes captured by a passer-by and posted online.

Marnie said yesterday: “The last few months have been a very dark time for me. But knowing that the deportation order has been lifted it is like a light has come back in my life.

“It has been very tough in jail and hard to stay positive. I was completely heartbroken at the thought of not seeing my sons again. Now at least I have some sort of chance of access.”

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Jailed Dubai mum Marnie Pearce to be freed by pardon tomorrow

 
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