DUBAI // British businessman Safi Qurashi, who was jailed for seven years for bouncing cheques, has agreed to end his hunger strike until the end of the month.
His decision follows news that prosecutors are to review his claims and refer them back to court, his wife said.
“Safi has agreed to suspend his hunger strike till the end of the month,” Huma Qurashi said in a statement released on Saturday on the website www.justiceformydad.com.
Qurashi was sent to the police clinic in Al Qusais after he collapsed at Dubai Central Jail on June 8. He spent seven weeks on hunger strike protesting his imprisonment.
“He wasn’t willing to do it [end his strike] at first as he had promised his next meal will be with his children, but I reassured him that this is a significant step forward and could see him released very soon once the cassation judges review the cases.
“I told him that I felt the Attorney General was very sympathetic after reviewing all the documents,” Mrs Qurashi said.
The move is the third by Dubai prosecutors after a series of hunger strikes broke out at the Dubai Central Jail in April.
On May 15, prosecutors agreed to review the cases of two prisoners who had been on a hunger strike for five weeks.
Imprisoned for bouncing cheques, cellmates Olivier Loeb, from Belgium, and Christopher Renehan, from Ireland, stopped their protest after prosecutors negotiated with them at the jail.
According to Mr Loeb’s wife, the chief prosecutor, Hamad Al Khalafi, told them that his office has been studying the matter and will be taking action soon.
Mr Qurashi, who is from Balham, England, professed his innocence throughout his trial.
He was convicted on three counts of bounced cheques totalling more than Dh200 million and began a seven-year sentence in 2010.
“We really hope that the cassation court judges will identify with the facts of the case that prove my husband’s cheques were misused by his complainers,” Mrs Qurashi said.
“Safi looked very weak and tired but there is a sense of relief in knowing that this nightmare will come to an end soon.”
Mrs Qurashi said her lawyers intend to apply for bail while the cases are reviewed.
“We hope that this time it will be accepted. With the holidays and Ramadan just around the corner, I am really hoping to have my husband home while the courts do their work,” she said.
Due to the public holiday yesterday prosecution officials were not available for comment.