This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Court of Appeal orders re-review in political prisoner case against Dechert LLP

Court of Appeal orders re-review in political prisoner case against Dechert LLP


Court overturns Dechert's privilege claim, orders re-review in human rights abuse case of Karam Al Sadeq

In a significant development, the Court of Appeal, in a judgement delivered at 2 pm today, allowed the appeal of Karam Al Sadeq, a political prisoner who has been incarcerated in the UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah for the past nine years. The appeal focused on allegations that Dechert LLP, a law firm, incorrectly withheld or redacted materials in their disclosure to Karam's legal team.

Karam is currently suing Dechert and three former partners for human rights abuses amounting to torture. The Court of Appeal's decision orders Dechert to re-review their disclosure, challenging the previously claimed Legal Professional Privilege.

Dechert’s legal team had applied Legal Professional Privilege over much of their work for Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority. However, the Court found prima facie evidence of wrongdoing, stating that the "disclosure exercise will have to be re-undertaken" with a new test in mind.

After the judgement Dechert stated “The firm is considering the Court of Appeal’s detailed judgement clarifying questions of legal professional privilege, noting that the firm is professionally obliged to maintain its client’s privilege and has endeavoured to do so with care and diligence.”

Lord Justice Popplewell criticized Dechert's previous approach to disclosure as "overly narrow" and emphasized that when there is a prima facie case of iniquity, there is no privilege in documents related to that iniquity.

The Court of Appeal overturned the initial judgment and highlighted that the allegations of iniquity made by Karam were not contradicted or disputed by any factual evidence presented by the respondents. The judgment focused on the allegedly illegal nature of Karam's arrest and the conditions in which he was held.

In examining the evidence, Lord Justice Popplewell pointed out various instances that supported Karam's claims, including a document stating "Karam Sadeq arrested in Dubai and shipped to RAK," which raised concerns about the legality of the extradition process.

The Court also noted a meeting where Karam claimed to be in solitary confinement for 13 months in a military prison, with evidence suggesting a breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

While Karam was not permitted to rely on fresh evidence in this appeal, Lord Justice Popplewell concluded that the iniquities were established to the relevant standard on the material before the Judge.

This decision marks a crucial step in Karam Al Sadeq's pursuit of justice, challenging alleged human rights abuses and shedding light on the conduct of Dechert LLP in this controversial case. The re-review of disclosure emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability in legal proceedings involving serious human rights violations.