'Tortured' football fan from Wolverhampton complains to FIFA
A football fan has filed a complaint to Fifa amid allegations that he was tortured by police in the Middle East after watching a football tournament.
Ali Issa Ahmad, from Wolverhampton, claims he was racially abused, beaten up and cut after being followed around the United Arab Emirates by men while wearing a t-shirt bearing a Qatar flag.
UAE officials have denied the allegations, saying the injuries were self-inflicted.
The 26-year-old was in the country watching a Qatar versus Iran match in the Asian Football Confederation tournament in January.
Now, working with London-based lawyer firm Temple Garden Chambers, Mr Ahmad has filed a complaint to Fifa for “failing” to protect fans.
Complaints have also been filed against the UAE through the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN Human Rights Council, of which the UAE is a member.
Mr Ahmad said: “I hope Fifa will take our complaint seriously, as they should not be allowing football tournaments to take place if fans are in danger for simply supporting a team that is participating in the tournament.”
Rodney Dixon QC, who is the head of Mr Ahmad's legal team, added: “Fifa has certain policies in place supposedly to ensure this never happens. We have thus filed a complaint on behalf of Ali and we are asking Fifa to address and remedy the violations committed against Ali.”
A spokesman for Fifa 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."
The UK Foreign Office has warned that authorities there deem “showing sympathy for Qatar” an offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment.
In a statement, the UAE’s London embassy said Mr Ahmad was “categorically not arrested for wearing a Qatar football shirt”.
The statement said a doctor who examined Mr Ahmad "concluded that his injuries were inconsistent with his account of events and appeared to be self-inflicted'.
The embassy said Mr Ahmad was charged with wasting police time and making false statements on January 24.
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