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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Briton freed from Pakistan jail
Karachi street scene
Mr Dufaur has been in prison in Karachi for three years
A British gem dealer who says he suffered three years of "horrendous" conditions after being jailed without trial in Pakistan has been released on bail.

Pakistani officials freed David Dufaur, 54, from Landhi jail in Karachi after his case was highlighted five weeks ago on BBC Radio.

I was sleeping on the floor for three years and the toilet was a hole in the ground

David Dufaur

Speaking after his release, Mr Dufaur told Radio 4's You and Yours programme that he was beaten and tortured by investigators who accused him of smuggling drugs.

The businessman from Croydon, south London, said he was forced to live in a rat-infested cell with seven others in appalling conditions.

"It was a horrendous ordeal from start to finish," said the businessman, who has protested his innocence throughout.

"I was living in a room 10 feet by 10 feet with seven other people. I was sleeping on the floor for three years and the toilet was a hole in the ground.

"Last night I had my first hot bath for three years and it was wonderful."

'Tortured'

Mr Dufaur, who has been supported by the charity Fair Trials Abroad, said police tried to force a confession out of him when he was first arrested.

"I was blindfolded and tortured. I was hung upside down and they beat the soles of my feet," he said.

Under Pakistan's legal system he must remain in the country until a further hearing, which his lawyers hope will take place in the next few months.

They believe the charges will then be dropped.

We're now very hopeful that the case will be dropped and he will be able to return to Great Britain

Sabine Zanker, Fair Trials Abroad

Mr Dufaur's case first featured on the Radio 4 consumer affairs programme last month, which led to scores of people offering their support to Fair Trials Abroad and the Foreign Office.

Sabine Zanker of Fair Trials Abroad said they were "very delighted" by the decision to free Mr Dufaur on bail.

"We're now very hopeful that the case will be dropped and he will be able to return to Great Britain," she said.

"The fact that he was held without trial was obviously something that very much concerned us."

'Terrible conditions'

A fellow Briton, who met Mr Dufaur when he was also held at the same jail on drug smuggling charges, said he was delighted to hear of his release.

John Sender said: "I don't drink a lot but I opened a bottle of champagne on the spot."

The 42-year-old, from Hastings, East Sussex, said he was sure Mr Dufaur would be home soon.

"Other people will never be able to visualise the terrible conditions a person is incarcerated in over there," he said.

Mr Sender was accused of drug smuggling and spent two years and two months in jail.

Though he maintains his innocence, he said he entered a guilty plea after prosecutors said that he would be freed within a month in return for admitting the charges.

The full interview with Mr Dufaur will feature on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours at 1200 BST on Wednesday.

See also:

03 Jul 00 | UK
Locked up in a foreign land
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