Dubai: Three British students, who were each serving a four-year imprisonment for drug abuse, have been deported as they were among 625 prisoners who received a ruler’s pardon on the occasion of Ramadan.

The Dubai Appeal Court recently rejected the Britons’ appeals and upheld the four-year jail term followed by deportation against each of the trio, 24-year-old S.K., K.W. and G.C., both 25, after they were convicted of possessing and taking drugs.

S.K.’s lawyer Eisa Bin Haidar confirmed to Gulf News that his client was released and deported on Friday and had reached London.

The pardon exempts them from the imprisonment but not the deportation, he said.

Dubai Police, Public Prosecution and court records refuted the trio’s claims that their confessions were extracted under police torture.

In the beginning of Ramadan His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, ordered the release of 625 prisoners, among whom were the three Britons.

Bin Haidar told Gulf News on Saturday: “It is true that they have been released and they are back in their homeland.”

However, he said they cannot return to the UAE because they have been deported.

Deportation orders that are based on criminal court rulings are considered permanent and ex-convicts cannot re-enter the country unless they obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Interior

The trio claimed that Dubai Police had tortured them to extract confessions in drug-related charges.

Meanwhile the UAE authorities and Dubai Police officials denied what was describe as “unfounded and fabricated torture allegations”.

The defendants were charged with possessing one kilo of synthetic cannabis known as ‘spice’ for consumption purposes.

The Court of First Instance had earlier modified the charge of possessing drugs to sell to possessing drugs for personal consumption.

Records said the students were caught in possession of the drug ‘spice’ and Dubai Police’s forensic laboratory confirmed that they tested positive for drugs.

S.K., K.W. and G.C. pleaded not guilty contending that they had taken drugs outside the UAE.

An Emirati anti-narcotics officer challenged before the court the allegations of torture in custody.