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'Tortured' Wolverhampton football fan complains to Fifa

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107846354 july12 aliahmad1 - 'Tortured' Wolverhampton football fan complains to Fifa

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Ali Issa Ahmad

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“Nobody should ever have to suffer what I did simply for wearing a T-shirt with a flag of a country on it,” Mr Ahmad said

Fifa “failed to protect” the human rights of a fan who was allegedly tortured for wearing a Qatar flag t-shirt after a football match in Abu Dhabi, his lawyers have claimed.

Ali Issa Ahmad, 26, from Wolverhampton, said he was left with scars after being detained and beaten by UAE police.

He said he was followed by officers and arrested after the Qatar vs Iraq match in January.

Fifa said it had received a complaint from Mr Ahmad’s lawyers.

A UAE official accused him of lying and “attention seeking”.

‘So many nightmares’

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Mr Ahmad, who left UAE custody in February, said he was followed by a group of men after the match who claimed to be police officers.

They ripped his shirt from him and followed him to his hotel, he said.

When Mr Ahmad decided to leave the hotel, he said he was followed again and was attacked in his rental car. When he made it to a petrol station to call for an ambulance, uniformed police officers arrived and subsequently detained and interrogated him, he said.

“I have scars all over my body now,” he said.

“I was beaten up and lost a tooth, I was cut, electrocuted and when I was in a cell I was stabbed.

“I was forced to sign a statement just to get water.

“I have so many nightmares now.

“Not only did they physically torture me but they also called me terrible things, especially because I am black.

“I never wanted to go public with what happened to me because it is so difficult to keep re-living it, but the UAE keep denying that they did anything to me,” Mr Ahmad said.

Mr Ahmad’s lawyers say Fifa failed in its obligations to protect fans’ human rights and prevent racial discrimination.

Complaints have also been directed to UAE authorities via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the UN Human Rights Council, they added.

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Ali Issa Ahmad

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Ali Issa Ahmad says he was beaten while in custody and now has scars from the injuries he received

Rodney Dixon QC, head of Mr Ahmad’s legal team, said: “It is a disgrace that Ali was tortured so cruelly and gratuitously while attending an international football tournament in the UAE.

“No football fan should have to endure this kind of inhuman and racist treatment… Fifa must take action to hold those responsible to account.”

A Fifa spokesman said: “FIFA has received a correspondence from Mr Ahmad’s lawyers and will provide a response.

“FIFA welcomes any step by the relevant public authorities to establish the facts of the case and calls for adequate remedy to be provided for any wrongdoing that may be identified.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said it was asking UAE authorities to investigate.

“We take all allegations or concerns of torture and mistreatment very seriously,” he added.

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Ali Issa Ahmad

Disputing Mr Ahmad’s version of events, a UAE official claimed he had gone to a police station and was taken to hospital by officers after claiming to have been beaten by UAE national football fans.

A doctor concluded his injuries “appeared to be self-inflicted”, the official claimed.

He added Mr Ahmad had been charged with wasting police time and giving false statements, which he later admitted.

“He was categorically not arrested for wearing a Qatar football shirt. This is instead an instance of a person seeking media attention and wasting police time,” the official added.

The World Cup is due to be held in Qatar in 2022.

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Ali Issa Ahmad

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Mr Ahmad’s lawyers say Fifa failed in its obligations to protect fans’ human rights and prevent racial discrimination

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