Miami case dropped: torture claims

A former employee of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) who had filed a lawsuit in the US against the bank and a Dubai government official, claiming that he was tortured while in detention, has ‘temporarily’ withdrawn the case, according to his lawyer.

Rafatul Islam Usmani, a Pakistani banker and former vice-president of finance and strategy at DIB, is accused of taking bribes to help transactions for Turkish company CCH International.

He has been under detention in Dubai since May 2008.

The lawsuit was filed by Usmani on June 2 at Miami District Court under the US Alien Tort Claims Act, which gives US district courts jurisdiction over certain cases abroad when “committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the US”.

Michael Diaz, Usmani’s lawyer, who is based in Miami, confirmed via e-mail that the lawsuit has been temporarily dropped until his client is released.

“Even though we will aggressively seek justice for our client, what is important at present is to do whatever is humanly possible to free him from this appalling unending detention,” he said.

Diaz claims Usmani has been held in the UAE without any credible evidence against him. “We have information that he has been tortured by them to the extent that he confessed to unknown criminal acts,” Diaz said, adding “our client has had limited access to legal counsel and his family since he was detained”.