Italian trapped in UAE embassy pleads to be rescued

An Italian man trapped for six months in his country’s embassy in the UAE has claimed he is the victim of a diplomatic spat between the two states and pleaded with Giorgia Meloni’s government to bring him home.

Andrea Costantino, 49, said he had been living a “Groundhog day-like” existence in a tiny room at the Italian embassy in Abu Dhabi since being released in late May from the emirate’s notorious maximum-security prison, Al Wathba, where he spent more than a year on charges of funding terrorism in war-torn Yemen after shipping a cargo of diesel to a client there.

Costantino, an oil trader, is unable to leave the UAE until he pays a €275,000 (£236,000) fine for the charges, which he said were “totally unfounded”.

“I sleep for no more than a couple of hours a night as I have continuous nightmares, about the time in prison and now this ongoing nightmare of being trapped here – it feels as if I have been buried alive,” he added.

Costantino was arrested by police officers from a special UAE unit in March 2021 in the Fairmont hotel on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, where he was with his wife and daughter.



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