x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Hunger strike pair offered case review to end protest

Two men in Dubai Central Prison were asked to stop their hunger strikes, one month after they began.

DUBAI // Two prisoners on a month-long hunger strike will have their cases reviewed if they end their protest.

Christopher Renehan and his cellmate, Olivier Loeb, began refusing food to protest against their jail terms for bouncing cheques and fraud laws.

The men have been taken to the prosecutor, who formally requested they end their hunger strike, according to Mr Renehan's brother, Stephen.

Mr Renehan spoke to his family in Ireland yesterday afternoon.

"He's hoping to get out," said his brother. "He is owed a lot of money and wants to get [that]. There are companies that owe him money and want to give him money but they can't because he is in jail. They will look over his files now."

Mr Renehan, a father of two, began refusing food on April 16, after eight months of a six-year sentence at Dubai Central Prison. He continued to take water.

The managing partner of a building company, Sire Contracting, he was jailed after late payments from a client caused cheques to contractors to bounce.

Mr Loeb, 51, a Belgian father of one, is serving a three-year sentence for bouncing cheques.

Stephen Renehan said his brother convinced his cellmate to take water during his hunger strike. "He was going down a bad path," Stephen Renehan said.

eharnan@thenational.ae