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Inside Dubai’s 20-man hellish prisons where ‘rape is a daily occurrence’ and inmates are ‘tortured with electric shocks’ – as flight attendant ‘victim of domestic violence’ faces jail for attempted suicide


Dubai prisons are notorious for their brutal conditions, where inmates are crammed into overcrowded cells, tortured for confessions, and suffer from horrific diseases.

A mile from the emirate’s famous beaches in the middle of the desert, al-Awir Central Prison houses male and female criminals in separate buildings, including inmates including murderers and terrorists.

Western tourists and former tourists, in many cases without being charged or forced to confess to a crime, are locked up alongside dangerous criminals in unsanitary, cramped cells.

According to a report earlier this year, prison rape is a «daily occurrence» with violent attacks by both inmates and guards.

Now facing Irish flight attendant Tori Towey the prospect of being locked up in a facility after being accused of drinking alcohol and attempting to take her own life after allegedly being subjected to domestic violence.

Here, MailOnline looks at the harrowing accounts of ex-prisoners who shed light on the horrific conditions she and other detainees faced in Dubai.

Karl Williams claims he saw men ripped apart by knife-wielding inmates while others were forcibly infected with HIV during his time in a hellish Dubai prison. Here he is shown in his cell during a horror trial

Karl Williams has written about his experiences in prison in a new autobiography called Killing Time.  Here is a picture of one of the meals he was served

Karl Williams has written about his experiences in prison in a new autobiography called Killing Time. Here is a picture of one of the meals he was served

Tori Towey remains jailed in Dubai after facing charges of attempted suicide

Tori Towey remains jailed in Dubai after facing charges of attempted suicide

Karl Williams, a Briton who was jailed for a year in 2012, revealed in his memoirs how he saw men being stabbed to death, having their testicles electrocuted and fearing he would be gang-raped by corrupt police.

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He described how he saw packs of guards standing by without intervening as prisoners attacked each other: “I saw men stabbed in the neck and others cut in the face. Blood spattered every surface as prisoner after prisoner was butchered.’

He also said the prison was run by Russian gangsters who used HIV-positive prisoners to rape and infect others as a form of punishment.

Mr Williams, along with Britons Grant Cameron and Suneet Jeerh, said they were given electric shocks and guns held to their heads while in al-Awir.

«They pulled down my pants, spread my legs and started electrocuting my testicles,» Mr Williams wrote.

«It was incredibly painful. I was so scared. I began to believe I was going to die in that room.’

Lawyers for the men also said they were forced to sign documents in Arabic at gunpoint. The Emirates Police denied the allegations.

Prisoners at al-Awir prison must always have their heads shaved, starting on entry, and are punished if their hair grows long, while women are reportedly required to wear head coverings.

Punishments include bans on television and calling home, with telephone access severely restricted regardless. Prisoners are rarely allowed visits.

Several people share beds at once, with up to 20 people sharing cells designed for three or four people.

While many of the most prominent reports of grim conditions have come from men in recent years, the situation facing women is feared to be even more brutal.

A police officer enters Al-Awir Dubai Central Prison in the United Arab Emirates

A police officer enters Al-Awir Dubai Central Prison in the United Arab Emirates

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Inmate Dinchi Lar said there were at least 10 people in three bunks in her prison, meaning she was forced to sleep on the floor.

«There’s nothing like personal space… you’re sleeping and someone’s in your face.» You’re literally sleeping on top of another person,» she told ITV.

For more than three months, Ms Lar said she was only able to go outside and «see the sun» for 15 minutes.

British ex-prisoner Zara-Jayne Moisey, who was locked up after reporting her own rape, has recalled the horrific conditions she was forced to live in at the filthy Al-Barsha prison.

«It was the most terrifying experience of my life, absolute torture, all because I went to the police about what happened in the hotel room,» she told The Sun.

“I’ll never forget prison, it’s the worst place I’ve ever been.

“During the day they left the lights off so we ate in total darkness. Then they turned them on at night so no one could sleep.’

Prisoners described both the baking heat and sub-freezing temperatures with ‘extreme’ air conditioning, with one saying: ‘If being in prison doesn’t break you, the temperature inside the prison will.’

Disease is also common in prisons, with one ex-British prisoner suffering from tuberculosis, which he contracted while there.

A doctor shows a corridor in the medical center of Al-Awir prison during the Covid pandemic

A doctor shows a corridor in the medical center of Al-Awir prison during the Covid pandemic

Human rights campaigners say some with chronic health conditions have been denied adequate medical care.

A 2019 report found that HIV patients in al-Awir were denied life-saving treatment.

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Cells have been gripped by Covid even during the pandemic, with cramped conditions making social distancing impossible.

The disease is exacerbated by sub-freezing temperatures and a lack of nutrition, with images showing the grim food served to prisoners.

Ms Lar said inmates at her prison were not seen by a doctor unless they were «at the point of death».

Those who get out of Dubai’s prisons are usually scarred by their experiences.

Mr Williams told the Press Association after his release: “When I came home I found it very difficult to adjust. I woke up in the middle of the night screaming and crying without knowing why.

“I had mood swings, it must have been hard for my family to be around me.

He added: “I’m not sure why this happened to me. If I had known I could have avoided that situation.’



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