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Prisoners took turns to sleep on the floor!

Friday 29th November 2002

The two Sutton sons of jailed heart patient Michael Clark are fast running out of hope that he will be able to leave the United Arab Emirates (UAE) alive.

Matthew and Jason Clark suffered a further blow to their hopes after reports that their ailing father's application to be included on a list of presidential pardons had been denied.

They had clung to the possibility that the UAE's hereditary ruler Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan would extend the customary clemency of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to Mr Clark.

But according to Matthew: "Although his plea reached the presidential office a few weeks ago he was too late to be on the list."

The plea was submitted in October and also backed by the British embassy in Abu Dhabi and Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow.

Matthew, who lives in Oakhill Road, said Mr Clark's liaison officer at the British embassy was trying to get him on the list of pardons.

Matthew said: "The only possible hope is that some time between now and Ramadan he will be deported. I'm resigned to it being one or the other either he gets out or he dies."

The family's spirits were dashed a month ago when Mr Clark was thrown back into jail because the controversial debt that is at the root of his troubles remained unpaid.

Matthew said he was currently in a UAE jail, in which prisoners took turns to sleep on the floor, and added: "The feedback from his wife is that he's at death's door."

Mr Clark has been needing a triple bypass operation for three years.

His passport has been in the hands of the authorities after a court found for a former business partner who had claimed Mr Clark owed him around 25,000. Mr Clark cannot afford to pay the debt.



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