x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dubai prison hunger strike enters day five

More than 200 prisoners protest their sentencing, saying drug terms are not handed out fairly.

DUBAI // More than 200 inmates at Dubai Central Prison are today entering day five of a hunger strike, calling for their sentences to be reduced or revoked.

At least 280 prisoners are living on water and biscuits, or small quantities of Arabic bread each day, according to sources.

The inmates, mostly held on narcotic charges, say there are discrepancies in their sentences.

"We are on a hunger strike to be judged rightly," said an inmate from the drug section, who is serving a 10-year sentence for drug possession. "Why is it that someone found with 0.25 grams of drugs is given 25 years, while someone possessing 25 kilograms of drugs is being given just four years?"

He claimed that prisoners were being denied access to outside medical attention and were instead given only painkillers.

Another inmate serving a life sentence for possession and trafficking, said: "Some people serving life and death sentences [for drugs] have been pardoned. Why are we treated differently?"

Sources said authorities would respond to the inmates' issues today.

pkannan@thenational.ae