Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Detained American accused of stealing handcuffs claims torture

Chelsea Carter CNN  May 12, 2011

CNN)An American detained for more than two months in the United Arab Emirates faces up to seven years in prison for stealing police handcuffs, an allegation he says he only confessed to after being tortured.

A judge in Dubai is expected to hand down a verdict next week against Adam Foster, 30, of Burdett, New York, whose case has become the focal point of a grassroots letter-writing campaign via Facebook that calls for his release.

“It’s hard to be hopeful at this point,” Foster told CNN by telephone Thursday from Dubai, where he has been detained since his February 26 arrest. “I don’t want to think I’m going to be getting out of here in a few days and then find I have to stay for seven years.”

The UAE has charged Foster with theft of government property, possession of police paraphernalia and theft at night. If found guilty, he faces up to seven years in prison.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that Foster was detained. American consular officers met him on February 28 before UAE authorities released him on bail March 1.

Officials in the UAE did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

But investigators claim Foster stole a pair of official police handcuffs during questioning in an unrelated matter at a Dubai police station the night before was due to leave the city, according to his attorney, Yousuf Khalifa Hammad.

Foster has said it was a coincidence, saying he was brought in for questioning because he was in possession of a bottle of Korean rice wine — a parting gift from colleagues. He was released without charges.

Foster said he found the handcuffs a day earlier on the ground at a mall parking lot, about a mile and half from the police station where he was questioned.

“I was thinking ‘souvenir,'” Foster said. “They were lying on the ground. So I picked them up.”

Foster, who was on his way home after a six-week stint as a contractor for Dubai Energy Water Authority, was arrested after authorities found the handcuffs in his luggage during a routine security screening at the Dubai airport.

He said he was pulled off the plane, questioned and taken to a police station, where he was interrogated twice by two officers.

It was during that second round of questioning, after hours of maintaining his innocence, he said he was beaten and forced to confess.

Foster claims he was told to take off his shoes and socks, and handcuffed to a chair while one of two officers used a coil to whip the bottom of his feet. He also said he was punched in the face.

“The pain was unimaginable,” Foster said. “So I told them I did it. I told them ‘I’m sorry.'”

Foster said he then signed a confession written in Arabic.

“I have no idea what it said,” he said.

Hammad said there is little recourse for Foster as there were no witnesses to the alleged torture, though court documents show he initially said he was innocent, confessed and then recanted.

“It is up to the judge to consider this,” Hammad said.

Foster said he recanted his confession after he was released from jail. He said he did not tell U.S. consular officials who met with him while he was in jail nor did he file a complaint against the officer in the case because he was afraid he would be beaten again if he professed his innocence.

Robert H. Arbuckle, a public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, declined to comment because Foster had not authorized consular officials to act on his behalf with the media.

The U.S. Embassy strongly advises travelers to the UAE and those transiting through the country to avoid carrying any type of law enforcement or security item, including weapons, body armor and handcuffs, according to its web site. It warns that people caught carrying such items will face criminal charges.

“I don’t understand how they can do this?” Foster said. “How can they put me away for seven years with no proof whatsoever?”

Foster has been living at a Dubai hotel since authorities released him on March 1. In lieu of bail, UAE officials confiscated his passport to ensure he would appear in court, Hammad said.

Nearly 1,000 people have appealed to Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, and Jeffrey D. Feltman of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to intervene on Foster’s behalf.

“I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure Adam is treated fairly on May 19 with consideration of his illegal torture and coerced confession,” according to a sample letter posted on Facebook. “Americans all over the world are counting on you and the State Department to speak boldly in opposition to human rights violations.”

Hundreds of others have posted messages of support.

“Imagine yourself in his place for about five minutes. Then do something to help him,” urges Facebook user Bruce Varner.

Foster said he was hanging on to hope that the letters from friends and family might make a difference in his case.

Last year, UAE authorities detained Nicholas Moody of Nevada for more than three months on charges of possessing weapons accessories — parts that could accompany a gun, though no firearm itself.

Moody was arrested during an 18-hour layover in Abu Dhabi while heading back from Iraq. A judge later dismissed the charges.

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May 12, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Moody Case Dismissed; Reno Veteran to Return Home Soon

Channel 2 News Reno

For months, the family and friends of Corporal Nicholas Moody have been waiting for answers. This morning, they finally have some relief.

The Reno veteran was arrested nearly three months ago for carrying gun parts on a plane, and he had been held then released from a prison in Abu Dhabi.

Nicholas’ mother Lorina called Channel 2 News early Monday morning, and says her son’s case has been dismissed.

“Hearing his voice, hearing he had gotten positive results and that he will be able to come home soon was tremendous for us the whole family and all of the friends and supporters out there are also equally happy,” says Lorina Moody.

Nicholas Moody called his mother from the United Arab Emirates around midnight and told her the news.

Moody had been returning from work as a private security contractor in Iraq when he was arrested in late September, and his sentencing was delayed several times. Now that his case has been dismissed, his mother says he can come home once he files his paperwork.

“Everyone can understand that as relieved as we are, it’s just a matter of actually having him here so we’re still going to be anxious and we’re still going to be waiting to hear when he’s actually gonna be here it’s not quite over for us until we actually see his face.” Moody says.

Moody says unless some major weather delays his trip, she is optimistic her son will be home in Reno by Christmas

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December 13, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

American gets suspended sentence on weapons charge

American gets suspended sentence on weapons charge

Hassan Hassan, Courts and Justice Reporter

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010

ABU DHABI // The State Security Court sentenced an American military contractor today to a suspended three months in jail and Dh15,000 fine for carrying non-dangerous weapons parts in hand luggage through Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The contractor, Nicholas Moody, a former US soldier, had been travelling from Iraq to the United States. Security officials at the airport said in September they found four pieces related to a rifle, including a gun-cleaning brush and a front grip.

Through a translator, the judge told Mr moody he was free to go but if he were arrested again, he would have to serve his sentence.

The parts “could not make a weapon,” NM told The National after the hearing. “That is why I didn’t think twice. …  It has been tough but it is a lesson. I learned from it.”

He spent the last two and a half months in Al Wathba prison.

“It has been … tough. I was treated nicely, but [prison] is not a good place to be,” NM said.

He said he was going back to the United States “as soon as possible” and was going to immediately notify his family of the verdict.

“I’m glad I am free,”  he said. “It is over.”

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , | Leave a comment

American detained for two months in United Arab Emirates speaks out

(CNN) – A 23-year-old Nevada man detained for more than two months in the United Arab Emirates said Monday he’s not sure how much more prison time he could face if convicted, but he’s prepared for the outcome of a judge’s decision.

Nicholas Moody, who had served in Iraq and then Afghanistan as part of the California and then Nevada National Guards, was arrested September 29 during an 18-hour layover in Abu Dhabi while heading back from his job as a private security contractor in Iraq, his family said. Moody is charged with possession of weapons accessories — parts that could accompany a gun, though no firearm itself — which is illegal in the UAE.

Moody went to court on Monday expecting to hear his verdict, but was told the verdict will be given on December 13, Moody said.

In a phone conversation with CNN on Monday, Moody said his ordeal has been harrowing.

“The uncertainty — not knowing — is the worst part,” said Moody, who has been out on bail since Wednesday.

He described his prison experience as “not very clean,” with little to no privacy and “too much time to think.”

“I was just wondering what could happen,” Moody said. “I didn’t know when it was going to end.”

UAE authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

The U.S. State Department confirmed last month that Moody was detained, saying that U.S. consular officers visited him on September 30, October 6 and November 10.

“During those visits, he conveyed he was being treated fairly,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the case.”

Mahmood Azmeh, an attorney for Moody, was not immediately available for comment Monday.

In November interview, Moody’s mother, Lorina Moody, said she was still coming to grips to how he landed in jail.

“Our son is the type of individual who would not have willingly broken the law,” said Lorina Moody of Susanville, California.

“It seems so ironic that a man who, after serving our country in two combat zones … is the one who got pulled aside,” she said.

After graduating from high school in 2005, Nicholas Moody enrolled in the California National Guard and, for a time, served in Iraq, according to his mother. He later moved to Reno, intending to attend the University of Nevada campus there, and joined the Nevada National Guard. Nicholas Moody became an inactive Guardsman when he took his latest job in Iraq with a security company, which Lorina Moody declined to name.

Nicholas Moody said Monday that the accessories he was carrying were not dangerous. The items included a pistol grip, a buttstock, a plastic front grip, a single-point sling adaptor, a buckle from a single point sling, a cleaning kit and an armorer’s wrench.

“They are not weapons themselves, and cannot be assembled into a weapon,” he said.

Moody said he did not know the items were illegal. He said they were in his possession because he had recently resigned his position in Iraq and the items were his personal property.

But Moody said he is respectful of the UAE and its laws.

“The rules are the rules, so whatever the judge rules … I will accept,” he said.

“My lawyers and I have done the best we can,” he added.

More than 2,000 people have expressed support to “Help Bring Nick Moody Back Home” on Facebook.

Moody said the outpouring of support for him is “humbling.”

“I still remain hopeful,” Moody said. “I’m hoping there’s a still a chance that this will be resolved in time to make it home to spend Christmas with my family.”  Please see the original at CNN

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions | , | Leave a comment

Security contractor from Nevada locked up in UAE for 7 weeks

Former Nevada Soldier Arrested Overseas

LAS VEGAS The family of a former Nevada soldier being held the past six weeks in an Abu Dhabi jail is fighting for the veteran’s release.
While waiting to board a flight home on Sept. 29, Nicholas Moody, 23, was arrested in the Middle Eastern country for what the nation’s officials said were accessories to firearms.
His family said those accessories were not ammunition or anything that could build a firearm.
His mother, Lorina Moody, said she reached out to the U.S. Embassy, but was told they couldn’t be of much assistance.
When she reached out to her congressman, Rep. Dean Heller, she said “I was told politely, but firmly, that the limitations of their office are such that they could request a health and welfare check for my son.”
Nicholas Moody was working as a private contractor in Iraq, providing security for the U.S. government, his family said.
Moody is permitted a 10 minute phone call every two weeks, his mother said. “When I have spoken to my son, it’s clear to me he is holding up very well,” Lorina Moody said.
“He’s very level headed and an outstanding person and is handling himself well in the conditions he’s in.”
She said the company he used to work for is also not helping.
Nicholas Moody’s aunt, Bobbi McLaughlin of Laughlin, Nev., said the family is turning to the public for the young man’s release. LINK: Help Bring Nick Moody Home

“We just need a letter to a congressman,” McLaughlin said. “It’s simple stuff but if enough people do it, you might.”

(CNN) — A security contractor from Nevada has been locked up for seven weeks in the United Arab Emirates, his mother said Thursday, as his family seeks answers about what landed him in prison and how long he’ll remain there.

Having served in Iraq and then Afghanistan as part of the California and then Nevada National Guards, Nicholas Moody, 23, was working for a private security contractor when he stopped over in Abu Dhabi, his mother Lorina Moody told CNN. He was arrested on September 29, during an 18-hour layover while heading back from Iraq, for carrying firearms accessories — parts that could accompany a gun, though no firearm itself — which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, his mother said.

“Our son is the type of individual who would not have willingly broken the law,” said Moody, of Susanville, California. “Now, we’re caught in a situation where we don’t [know] where to turn to. We don’t really have any way of knowing what’s going to happen to him.”

The U.S. State Department confirmed that Nicholas Moody has been detained, saying that U.S. consular officers visited him on September 30, October 6 and November 10.

“During those visits, he conveyed he was being treated fairly,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the case.”

Nicholas’ family, meanwhile, is hoping for action. Lorina Moody said she’s talked to her son briefly two weeks, the last time on November 11. Only recently did the family find an English-speaking lawyer, and he has only been able to talk to Nicholas twice.

While she has been assured Nicholas is doing well, Lorina Moody said she’s still coming to grips to how he landed in jail.

After graduating from Susanville’s Lassen High School in 2005, Nicholas enrolled in the California National Guard and, for a time, served in Iraq, according to his mother. He later moved to Reno, intending to attend the University of Nevada campus there, and also joined the Nevada National Guard.

Nicholas became an inactive Guardsman when he took his latest job in Iraq with the security company, which Lorina Moody declined to name. According to CNN affiliate WTVN, he was carrying a front grip and cleaning kit for a gun and other items he needed as an armed guard when he was caught.

“It seems so ironic that a man who, after serving our country in two combat zones … is the one who got pulled aside,” Lorina Moody said.

While ceding that the parts he was carrying might constitute a crime in the UAE, she said she did not feel what Nicholas has gone through so far — including limited contact with his family, lawyer and the U.S. government, as well as little understanding of the possible sentence — exceeds what he deserves.

Lorina Moody said she initially kept the matter private, so as not to “inflame the situation.” But, heeding the advice of her son’s lawyer in the Persian Gulf country, she’s taken the cause public in recent days — reaching to out the media and setting up a Facebook page.

Nicholas’ next court date is November 29, though his mother said she’s not sure what could happen to him — whether he’ll be sentenced to time served, be compelled to spend months or years more in prison or have to pay a fine.

Until then, she’s talking and hoping for the best. She describes her contact with U.S. officials so far as “courteous,” but “minimal.” And she hopes getting Nicholas’ story out there will help his cause.

“I understand” the limits on what officials can do, she said. “But I am this man’s mother, and that is not enough.”

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November 18, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment