My name is Farzan Athari and I am a 29-year-old Swedish-Iranian. I am writing this from Dubai Central Jail. After 8 months, they finally gave me my sentence; they gave me LIFE in Jail. I later learned that I almost got the death penalty, but because the decision was not unanimous I was given the more ‘lenient’ sentence. I can’t even describe the feeling of getting told, over the phone, that I’m going to spend the rest of my life in jail. I’m still hoping to wake up from this nightmare…
At present I have finally finished my Appeal and Supreme Court process and my sentence has been reduced to 10 years.
Most of what has been out in the media up until this point is NOT TRUE. I was arrested outside my home, Burj Khalifa in Dubai on May 14th 2013, with an illegal substance in my pocket. Armani Hotel is located in my building, so when the police stated that I was “standing outside a luxurious hotel looking for customers to an sell illegal substance to”, I was actually just walking out of my residency to meet my friend. What I want you to know is that the illegal substance in question wasn’t even mine, I was not using, promoting or selling it and I had no intention to do so either. I got entrapped. For those who don’t know what entrapment means; Entrapment: the action of luring an individual into committing a crime in order to prosecute the person for it.
Upon my arrest I was kept for two weeks in an empty cell with no bed or toilet, without any rights to a lawyer, no contact with the Swedish embassy, no translator or even a simple phone call to my family or friends to inform them that I’m alive. I was coerced into signing a confession and statements in Arabic, a language which I can’t read or understand – they didn’t give me any other choice. This had a grave impact on my trial as all those signed statements were used as evidence against me in court. I was only able to obtain a lawyer after spending 5 months in Jail without even knowing what I was charged with. There were NO witnesses in my case at all apart from the arresting officers.
I was accused of ‘intending topromote an illegal substance’. Despite this, I was given a much harsher sentence. A sentence, which is given for ‘selling an illegal substance’. I am innocent of both. I am not a promoter or dealer of any illegal substance.
You’re always responsible for your actions. I agree, and I admit that it was the biggest mistake of my life to put myself in a situation like this and to get fooled by a so-called “friend”. After my arrest I was subjected to an unjust interrogation process, forced signing of statements in a foreign language, no interpreter, an unfair trial, falsified statements by the police in court, the absence of witnesses and a verdict that doesn’t fit the crime. This truly violates human rights. These human rights are protected by law and generally followed in Dubai, but they have been neglected and violated in my case. I’m still young with many hopes and dreams to achieve and I have already spent 2 birthdays of my life in jail for my stupid mistake that I’m forever regretful of. I have truly learnt my lesson.
Not a day passes when I’m not afraid or concerned for my life and my health being locked in together with heavy criminals and people carrying transferable diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.
At the time of my arrest, I had a great career and I was involved in a successful local business with 2 partners and 16 employees. Now, all I have is a decade of jail time before me. I’m asking you with all my heart for your support in a time where I need it the most I ask for Mercy because everybody has made a mistake at some point in their life. Every single signature counts. Not only will I be forever grateful, but also my family, friends and my angel baby sister will as well.
This petition is not written to criticize Dubai. I have lived and worked in Dubai for 3 years because it is an amazing city. I was even in the process of writing and producing a theme song to promote the city of Dubai for ”Dubai Expo 2020”.
I would like to apologize to God, his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and the Prime Minister of the UAE and the great ruler of Dubai, my family, friends, supporters and all the Swedish and Iranian people around the world, as well as all Dubai citizens, for me even being involved in a situation like this.
My life is now in the hands of God, his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and you!
God bless you all and much gratitude for all your support
You can support Farzan Athari by signing this online petition.
Please go back to www.supportfarzan.com and sign the petition to make our voice heard.
By showing support we propose the following:
- We would like to as his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his forgiveness and pardon.
- We urge the foreign Ministry and Justice Department in Sweden and the Swedish embassy in the UAE to take immediate action and bring Farzan Athari back to Sweden.
Please make sure you share this petition with your friends, family and your network. Every single signature counts!
If you have any advice, idea or useful media connection and want to help, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, only 1 signature per device per hour (PC, Mobile, Tablet)