Paralysed Brit expat trapped in Dubai by warped legal system

Published:  7 Dec at 6 PM
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British pensioner Malcolm Munroe is paralysed following a stroke in 2013 and is being detained in a Dubai hospital until his unpaid business debts are settled.

Monroe’s massive stroke left him totally paralysed and only able to more his eyelids. Since December 2013 he’s been in Dubai’s Rashid Hospital after being judged a criminal as he was unable to pay his business debts. His only alternative is three years in a Dubai prison, clearly impossible.

Monroe arrived in Dubai with his family in 1983 and took over an already successful cladding and roofing firm with several hundred workers. His one mistake was making himself sole signatory for all business accounts, leaving no-one with the legal authority to keep running the business and paying the bills after the stroke hit.

Under those circumstances, the business failed, and UAE laws meant he was criminally responsible for its debts. Personal debts as well as business debts are considered as criminal offences, and the emirate has no bankruptcy laws to protect those who find themselves in similar situations. Obviously, as he’s totally paralysed, he would not survive prison and is unable to make any arrangements as regards paying of the business’s debts.

Soon after his stroke, his wife Olga had to go back to the UK for cancer treatment, and hasn’t seen him since as she and their family were also working in the business and fear being arrested and jailed by the UAE authorities if they return. Monroe is totally unable to look after himself, is being fed via a tube and is connected to an oxygen tank. He will remain in this condition until he dies, but UAE law still views him as a criminal.

British-based NGO Detained in Dubai is involved in his case, with its CEO Radha Stirling telling reporters his treatment is nothing short of disgraceful. Nothing, she says, is to be gained by leaving him in this condition, adding the humane solution would be to allow his family to repatriate him to the UK after his debts have been forgiven.
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