Detained in Dubai law firm fighting for Brit businessman

Published:  13 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, Dubai, UAE
Former British businessman in Qatar Jonathan Nash is now being aided by legal charity Detained in Dubai after he was sentenced to 37 years in prison for a bounced cheque.

Detained in Dubai hit the headlines at the beginning of this year for its successes in fighting on behalf of a number of expats who’ d fallen foul of the UAE’s seemingly illogical myriad of laws. The former CEO of Top House, a Doha management services company, is hoping against hope the law firm can work its magic in his case.

Nash had written and signed a number of cheques in advance as assurances of future payments, a normal practice in Qatar. Shortly after he’d sent the cheques out he became the victim of slander, which caused recipients of the payments to lose confidence in his company and cash the cheques in a hurry. An internal company dispute then caused all payments to be blocked, but as Nash had written and signed the cheques, he became personally liable under an emirati law.

He was arrested in 2015 and has only had one court appearance, during which he confirmed he had issued and signed the cheques. Just prior to Christmas last year and with no further court appearances, he was told he’d been sentenced to 37 years in jail. Doha’s Central Prison houses 12 prisoners in each dirty, cockroach-infested cell containing paper-thin mattresses and gives sparse access to drinking water during the sweltering summers. Nash’s one fear is that he’ll never see his family again.

At the beginning of this month, Detained in Dubai associate Isabella Alexandra gave London’s Qatari Embassy a letter directed at Qatar’s Emir and requesting Nash’s pardon on humanitarian grounds. She considers his sentence was grossly disproportionate to his offence as he’d written the cheques in good faith and had no idea they wouldn’t be honoured, The decision to refuse payment, she adds, was not his and he gained no profit from the issue. The case is now causing major concern amongst expat business people in the emirate as regards the advisability of doing business in Qatar if an internal company dispute can have this result.
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