HELP NEEDED: Jailed in Dubai for Helping Children
Urgent help needed to persuade UK Prime Minister Theresa May to intervene on behalf of British-Australian fundraiser held in Dubai. Please sign our petition.
Fundraising for worthy causes should never be a crime.
Scott Richards, a British-Australian volunteer fundraiser has been charged by Dubai authorities for “fundraising without permission”. His crime? Sharing a link on Facebook to promote a fundraising campaign for Afghan child refugees. In what world is wanting to raise money for needy children considered a prison-worthy offence? Dubai, apparently, and Scott now faces a potential sentence of up to a year.
The Guardian’s Amelia Hill writes:
“A man with joint British and Australian citizenship could spend a year in jail in Dubai after posting a link on his Facebook page to a US charity raising funds for blankets and socks for refugee children in Afghanistan. Scott Richards, an economic development adviser from Adelaide, was arrested on 28 July and held for 22 days at Al Muraqqabat police station before being charged on Friday under a new law banning “fundraising without permission”. The post he shared was a link to a campaign by the Zwan Family Charity to raise funds for new tarpaulins, blankets, warm clothes and socks and sleeping bags for children at the Chahari Qambar refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul. More than 100 children froze to death at the camp four years ago. Richards, who grew up in Australia, was living with his wife and two sons in Dubai when he fell foul of a strict new law prohibiting the operation of any charity not registered in the United Arab Emirates. The 42-year-old could now besentenced to a prison term of between two months and one year, and a fine of up to 100,000 dirhams (£20,000).”
SOFII has created a petition on Change.org calling on Theresa May to personally intervene to help Scott, which you can sign here.
You can also contribute to the fund set up by Scott’s family and friends to help fight his case. Please donate to SOFII by clicking on the “Keep SOFII running” button and e-mail email@example.com so we can make sure your donation goes to the right place. Together, we can ensure Scott’s unfair charge gets dropped.
STOP PRESS: SOFII has just learned that, following pressure, Scott has now been released on conditional bail. He still faces a court case and potential sentence, so please keep up the pressure. Please sign the petition above. Thank you.