Briton held in Dubai denied prostate cancer treatment


A 61-year-old British man is being held in Dubai and denied prostate cancer treatment and anti-anxiety medication.

Maritime security officer Perry Coppins had his medicine – which is legal in the United Arab Emirates – and his prescription, but was arrested on November 1 because customs officers believed he had “too many pills”.

Despite his explanation that he needed enough for a six-month voyage, he was jailed for five weeks, campaign group Detained in Dubai (DiD) said.

It said Mr Coppins suffers from anxiety and for 21 years has been taking prescribed Temazepam, Clonazepam and Citalopram, which he can not function without.

Dubai Hotel - building - Burj al Arab © Provided by The Press Association Dubai Hotel – building – Burj al Arab

DiD claims Mr Coppins, from Nottingham, was denied his medication in custody, and his condition deteriorated rapidly as he suffered severe withdrawal, including hallucinations, bouts of blindness and weight loss.

He has since been diagnosed with prostate cancer and it is claimed the UAE is refusing to give him treatment, which means he now needs life-saving surgery.

He has two daughters, Pia aged 24 and Mia aged 10, and a 21-year-old son called Cameron.

Pia said: “Nobody should be treated like this. He is not a young man and he needs medical help to cope with his anxiety.

“Not being allowed his cancer treatment is like giving him a death sentence. Does human life mean nothing to those people?”

The father-of-three has lost his job and his passport has been confiscated. It is thought his life savings will soon run out, and he will have no place to stay until his trial. His next court hearing is on January 15.

Radha Stirling, chief executive of British-based human rights group DiD, which is representing Mr Coppins, said: “UAE laws on medicines are often vague and frontline law enforcement officials are frequently unaware of exactly what the rules permit or prohibit, so they make uneducated, arbitrary judgment calls.

“Perry needs urgent treatment for his prostate cancer. To deny him this in a timely fashion is an absolute violation of his human rights.

“We hope that the UAE will show compassion to Perry and his children and release him immediately, so that he can return home for the medical treatment he needs.”

A second British man, Connor Clements, who was detained in Dubai over traces of medical marijuana left in his system after he used it legally in the UK, has been sentenced to two years in Al Awir jail.

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