Abu Dhabi: The lawyer engaged by Emirati businessman Ahmad Al Menhali, who was mistreated by police in a US city last week, has said that no financial aspect of the case has been considered as of now.
Al Menhali, 41, who was mistreated by Avon Police in Ohio after being mistaken for a Daesh sympathiser, was hospitalised again on Monday following physical discomfort. He was still in the hospital on Tuesday evening, although his condition was improving.
“I cannot comment about the financial aspect of the case [at this stage],” David B. Malik, an Ohio-based lawyer, told Gulf News by phone yesterday. He maintained that it was premature to talk about remedies to be sought in the case before the law firm concluded its investigations.
Malik said his law firm wanted to ensure that nobody would go through the kind of ordeal Al Menhali endured. “We are exercising great efforts to protect his well-being, dignity and reputation,” he said.
His comments refute news reports saying Al Menhali had already decided to sue the US government for $200 million.
In an emailed statement, the lawyer also told Gulf News that the law firm was yet to watch two additional videos of the incident — one from police body cameras and the other from inside the Fairfield Marriott [hotel]in Avon, Ohio.
“Our interest is to speak accurately about the events that involved Marriott International and the Avon Police. We will not comment specifically about Al Menhali’s case until our internal investigation is completed and the acquired information is reviewed.”
When Gulf News spoke to Al Menhali by phone yesterday he said that he was admitted to an emergency [section of a hospital] after feeling dizzy and tired on Monday evening. He said he was feeling better after treatment.
Al Menhali had sustained multiple injuries when armed police detained him on June 29 in front of a hotel where he was staying. He has been in the US since April for medical treatment at a heart clinic.
Malik made it clear that Al Menhali, though a citizen of the UAE, is protected by and has the legal benefits allowed by laws of the US. “Proper application of these laws will be a step towards returning to him his dignity which was so callously challenged. Once our investigation is complete, we will then further analyse which federal and state laws of the US apply to his situation. At that time, with the express permission of Al Menhali, we will proceed accordingly,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Emirates Human Rights Association yesterday said that Emiratis travelling abroad should not be judged based solely upon their traditional dress.
“The unfair treatment of Ahmad Al Menhali ... was based solely on what he was wearing and the language he was speaking,” it said in a statement.
This kind of mistreatment “jeopardises the safety of all Emiratis, as well as those from other Gulf states, which ultimately ends up compromising their national and cultural identity”, it added.
Earlier, Al Menhali said he was waiting for an official aplogy letter from the US government.
Gulf News earlier reported how Avon’s Chief of Police Richard Bosley apologised to Al Menhali.
In a face-to-face meeting captured on video, Bosley, along with Brian Jensen, the Mayor of Avon, apologised.
“No one from the police department [meant] to disrespect you, that was the not the intent of the actions of our officers. It’s a very regrettable circumstance that occurred for you. You should not have been put in that situation like you were,” said Bosley in a 29-second video posted on Twitter.
Rawdha Al Otaiba, Director of the Department of US Affairs at the ministry, had expressed the UAE’s dissatisfaction with the way the police dealt with the Emirati.
Al Otaiba voiced the UAE's disapproval of the arbitrary treament and searching of Al Menhali, and the posting of a video clip showing him being handcuffed.
She described the incident as a libel against the Emirati man.
Following the incident involving Al Menhali, the UAE government issued an advisory urging Emiratis to refrain from wearing the national dress when travelling abroad.
Emiratis interviewed by Gulf News have found the government’s advisory timely and apt and also advised their countrymen to follow the order.
Emiratis have agreed that wearing the traditional Emirati dress outside the Middle East is not a smart choice, given an escalation in negative prejudices about it in certain parts of the world.
Abdulla Rasheed is the Abu Dhabi Editor, Binsal Abdul Kader is a senior reporter, and Mariam Al Serkal is a senior web reporter