This is Clare, Steve’s sister. Unfortunately Steve is in need of help, and the time has come that we can go longer deal with it on our own as a family, we need help from others.
Steve was on holiday in Abu Dhabi in January. Unfortunately there was the drone attack whilst out there and this seems to have triggered something with his mental health- he is an Army Veteran. The plan was to fly him home and take him straight to hospital. Unfortunately Steve was arrested at the airport as he told staff he was scared there was a bomb on the plane ( he worked with bomb disposal teams in the army, and has also provided medical support to teams as a civilian).
Myself and his wife flew to Abu Dhabi and spent 3 days begging the police to get him to a hospital as by this point he was clearly both physically and mentally unwell. Eventually he was transferred to a hospital, and he is still there now.
He was put in front of he judge via video link despite clearly not having capacity or legal representation and was fined 500,000 UAED (£103,000) or sentenced to prison. We have appointed a lawyer and appealed the decision. Despite having 2 medical reports saying Steve lacked capacity at the time and is not responsible for his actions, we have lost the appeal this morning. The judge has upheld the original decision and we have not been allowed any access to Steve since the beginning of February. Both the lawyer and British Embassy have tried to visit Steve, and again have been refused access. He is under police guard in hospital.
We cannot risk Steve going to prison, the British Embassy have confirmed that his mental health treatment will stop if he is transferred there, and we cannot risk him relapsing. He nearly died from 3 days in police custody and ended up with kidney problems.
We know this is a difficult time for everyone, and I’m so sorry to have to ask for money but we feel we don’t have a choice, we’ve been told we need to pay the fine by the 6th April. We just want to get Steve home.
- Jon Bonser
- Paula McMullan
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