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British man jailed in Dubai and ‘denied cancer treatment’ for carrying prescription anti-depressants

- 1515180846 perry coppins 1 - British man jailed in Dubai and ‘denied cancer treatment’ for carrying prescription anti-depressants


A British man in urgent need of cancer treatment has spent five weeks in a Dubai jail after he was arrested for carrying anti-depressants, his lawyers have said.

Perry Coppins, 61, was detained at Fujairah seaport last month despite having prescriptions for the drugs, which are legal in United Arab Emirates (UAE.) 

The maritime security officer from Nottingham has been treated for anxiety for 21 years and was travelling with enough medication for a six-month journey at sea, according to Detained in Dubai, a campaign group which has taken up his case.

The not-for-profit legal organisation said that since his arrest, Mr Coppins had been denied temazepam, clonazepam and citalopram, which were all prescribed by a GP.

His “psychological condition [had] deteriorated rapidly” and he had suffered “severe withdrawal” symptoms including hallucinations, weight loss, “intense pain, bouts of blindness and uncontrollable sweating”, it said. 

The father-of-three has also been diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer which the UAE was “refusing to give him treatment” for, Detained in Dubai added.

“Perry needs urgent treatment for his prostate cancer,” said Radha Stirling, the organisation’s chief executive. “To deny him this in a timely fashion is a gross violation of his human rights. We hope that the UAE will show compassion to Perry and his children, and release him immediately, so that he can return home for the medical treatment he needs.”

Perry Coppins was arrested at Fujairah port (AFP/Getty Images)

Calling for his release, Mr Coppins’ family  said denying him cancer treatment was “like giving him a death sentence”.

He has two daughters, Pia, 24, and Mia, 10, and a 21-year-old son, Cameron, in the UK.

“It’s so cruel. Nobody should be treated like this. He is not a young man and he needs medical help to cope with his anxiety,” said Pia. “Not being allowed his cancer treatment is like giving him a death sentence. Does human life mean nothing to those people?”

Mr Coppins’ ex-wife Lesley added: “Perry and I spilt up, but he is a good man who loves his kids. I really hope the Dubai authorities decide to do the humane thing and let him free. Those medicines are taken by millions of people. He needs them to function.”

Ms Stirling said she believed Mr Coppins was stopped by an “overzealous” customers official, who rejected his prescription paperwork and called in police. 

She added: “UAE laws on medicines are often vague and frontline law enforcement officials are frequently unaware of exactly what the rules permit or prohibit, so they make uneducated and arbitrary judgment calls.

“In fact the three medications which Perry possessed are perfectly legal in the UAE, provided the patient has prescription documentation, which Perry has. The initial mistake of the customs officer should never have escalated into criminal charges, but this reveals the lack of professionalism within the legal system, and what appears to be the capriciousness of the Public Prosecutor’s office.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We have been assisting a British man since his arrest in Dubai in November and are in contact with the UAE authorities.”

The Independent has contacted the Dubai Public Prosecutor’s office for comment, but none had arrived at the time of publication. 

Mr Coppins’ arrest is the latest in a string of cases in which Britons have been detained in emirate, often over disputed accusations of minor crimes. 

In October, Detained in Dubai helped to secure the release of Scottish 27-year-old, Jamie Harron, who had faced three months behind bars for accidentally touching a man’s hip in a bar.

The cases have led campaigners to urge the UK government to warn people about the legal risks of travelling to the UAE.

Independent

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Middle East

Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say

- 1516551522 mosul - Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say


An Iraqi court has sentenced a German woman to death after she ran away to join Isis.

The court in Baghdad convicted the unnamed German woman of “providing logistical support and assistance to the terrorist group to commit crimes” and has ordered her execution.

The spokesman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, says the woman acknowledged joining Isis after travelling from Germany to Syria and then to Iraq along with her two daughters. Both daughters later married militants. 

She is believed to have been living in the Mannheim region of Germany when she travelled to Syria but is reportedly of Moroccan descent. 

The woman is believed to have been among a number of women in July 2017 who were captured after the Battle of Mosul when Iraqi forces pushed Isis out of Iraq’s second city.

She now faces hanging but can still appeal her sentence, Mr Bayrkdar said.

Iraqi forces have detained a number of foreign women after they drove Isis from its former territory in northern and central Iraq. 

It is estimated that over 27,000 foreign fighters, including 6,000 Europeans, have travelled to Iraq and Syria since the start of the Arab Spring in 2011 but not all of them have joined Isis, according to data published by the Soufran Group.

A Russian Isis fighter was sentenced to death in Iraq last year for joining the hardline group.

Meanwhile one of those in prison awaiting trial is German teenager Linda Wenzel who ran away to Syria when she was just 15 years old. 

Wenzel also faces the death penalty if convicted of aiding Isis. Iraqi authorities say she admitted to working as a sniper during the battle but Wenzel claims she was mostly kept as a domestic servant.

Iraq declared victory last month over Isis, which had seized control of nearly a third of the country in 2014. However, the terror group continues to carry out bombings and other attacks in the country.

Additional reporting by agencies​

Independent

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Middle East

France Calls for Urgent UNSC Meeting Over the Turkish Attack on Afrin

- 6d35699da25d5ed17995fd336cb43987 L - France Calls for Urgent UNSC Meeting Over the Turkish Attack on Afrin


ERBIL — French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that his country has called for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing Turkish military incursion into the Kurdish-held Syrian Canton of Afrin.

“France has requested an urgent meeting of UN Security Council,” Le Drian said on his Twitter account.

He urged those involved in the conflict to stop the fire immediately and open the path for humanitarian aid to reach the affected area.

French foreign minister talked to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier, following which he said in an official statement that Ankara is urged to restraint and end any action which could further deteriorate the humanitarian situation in Syria.

“France is attentive to the security of Turkey, its territory and borders. Paris calls on the Turkish authorities to exercise restraint in the complicated context of a humanitarian situation in several Syrian regions in view of military activities of Damascus and its allies,” reads the statement.

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Middle East

YPG Repels Turkish Ground Attack Near Afrin

- 483e465d9a269f55d26c3cdda3226147 L - YPG Repels Turkish Ground Attack Near Afrin


ERBIL — The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Sunday repelled the first Turkish ground offensive on Bulbul district of Afrin Canton.

The Turkish troops, accompanied by heavy arms and tanks, were marching towards the territories of  Balia village when faced fierce resistance from the YPG fighters, said Hawar news agency (ANHA).

Many Turkish artillery and heavy arms are said to have been forced to retreat while there remains some attacking troops, according to the same source.

 

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