British-Australian man held in notorious Prague prison for credit card debt faces extradition to Qatar

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
(SWNS)

A British-Australian man serving a two-month prison sentence in Prague is facing extradition to Qatar over a credit card debt.

Alan Stevenson was arrested in the Czech city in June this year as he passed through on his way to visit an ill relative in the UK.

His name appeared on an Interpol list after Qatari officials reported him over an outstanding credit card debt he accumulated during a stay in the country in 2012.

Mr Stevenson worked as an IT manager in Qatari capital Doha in 2013, during which time he opened a bank account and was required him to submit a blank cheque as collateral against the card, to be used to cover any potential unpaid balance if he ever failed to pay.

(SWNS)

Since his arrest, Mr Stevenson, from Manchester, has been kept on lockdown for 23 hours a day in Prague's notorious Pankrac Remand prison.

Inmates there are reportedly denied access to warm water or electricity. During his incarceration, his health has deteriorated and he has lost over 22lbs.

Radha Stirling - CEO of Detained in Dubai, which aims to help foreigners abroad - said Qatar is wrongly using Interpol as a "debt collection agency".

Mrs Stirling said: "The UK generally refuses to consider extradition to the Gulf States due to human rights concerns, but these cases should never even reach that stage.

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"Interpol should not be accepting Red Notice requests that relate to private financial matters.

"It is outrageous that Alan has been arrested in Prague and faces possible extradition.

"He is being held in horrendous conditions in an archaic jail, over a debt he was in the process of negotiating.

"If Interpol is going to continue allowing this abuse of their system, governments worldwide are going to have to stop treating Notices as credible if they originate from the Gulf, to ensure that innocent people like Alan are not abused.

"Qatar has overtaken the UAE as the top abuser of the Interpol system.”

(SWNS)

His family have been in touch with the British and Australian embassies in the Czech Republic, who said his case is being reviewed.

His sister, Jennifer Small, said: “Alan is my only brother, our mother is unwell, and we are worried sick about what he is enduring, and what might happen next.

"I can’t believe someone can be treated like a criminal fugitive in 2019 because of a late credit card payment.

"We just want him free and safe, he is wasting away in that jail for no reason; it is heartbreaking."

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