Starvation Strikes Spread in Arabia: A Belgian in Dubai Joins Hunger Games
To eat or not to eat?
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A prisoner who collapsed in holding cells at Dubai Courts on the third day of a starvation protest vowed to keep refusing food and water last night.
Olivier Loeb, a 51-year-old Belgian, is in his fourth week of hunger-striking in protest at a three-year sentence handed down after security cheques he wrote for his business bounced.
Loeb, who is married with a child, claims a business partner vowed to invest in his three general trading
companies, but later withdrew the cash.
The businessman, who has served only five months of his sentence, began refusing liquids as well as food on Tuesday and slumped unconscious after being taken to court for a scheduled appearance on Thursday morning.
Loeb said he was taken back to jail, where cellmates kept a vigil through the night, fearing he might die.
Loeb’s family in Belgium and his wife in Dubai made repeated calls to consular staff at the Belgian Embassy in the UAE, asking them to contact the jail and request medical help, but say they were refused any emergency assistance.
Loeb was taken to Rashid Hospital under guard on Friday afternoon, where his distraught wife said she could only speak to him from a distance.
She said: “I managed to convince him to accept a glucose drip.
“The doctors told me that two more days without treatment and he would have passed away. I asked Olivier, ‘please, this is putting so much pressure on everyone, it is not worth dying for’.”
A nurse who treated Loeb said: “He was brought into the resuscitation room in a very poor condition. He was suffering severe dehydration and required immediate attention.”
Loeb told 7DAYS yesterday: “I won’t be drinking any more from today.” He has previously said he is prepared to die rather than remain in jail.
He is one of a number of inmates believed to be hunger-striking over debt cases.