British tourist dies in Dubai police custody: Foreign office

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A British tourist has died in police custody in Dubai, the Foreign Office confirmed Thursday, amid newspaper reports that he suffered severe beatings while in detention.

Lee Brown 39, was reportedly arrested on April 6 after a row at a luxury hotel in the Gulf emirate.

The maintenance man from Ilford, east of London, died on Tuesday after six days in custody at the Bur Dubai police station.

"We can confirm that Lee Bradley Brown has died whilst in police custody," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

"We have spoken to his family and are providing them with consular assistance.

Earlier a British embassy spokesperson in Dubai also confirmed the death, telling AFP: "The embassy is in close contact with Dubai police and has been assured a full investigation will take place" into the circumstances surrounding his death.

According to press reports, the British embassy "said it had been contacted by the 39-year-old's family who claimed Brown was beaten by police officers during his detention."

But the embassy spokesperson said it has not yet been confirmed that the man died from torture.

The Sun newspaper, which spoke by mobile phone to a prisoner at the Bur Dubai station, alleged that Brown had been stripped, handcuffed and battered by up to six officers then left lying injured for three days.

The Daily Mail, citing sources, also alleged that Brown had been beaten and left unconscious.

It was unclear why he had been detained, although British media reports said he was taken into custody for swearing.

Dubai, a popular destination for British tourists and expatriate workers, has occasionally come under fire from rights groups over harsh detention conditions.

© 2011 AFP

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