A GRANDMOTHER is calling on authorities to secure the release of her nine-year-old grandson who is being held in a Middle Eastern children’s centre.

Fiona Oomes’s grandson Jamie had initially gone on a two-week holiday in August 2017 to stay with his father, who is from Wylam but lives and works in Dubai.

But after expressing a wish to live with his father in Dubai, Jamie refused to return home to his mother in France.

Jamie’s family said his mother then sought a French court order to secure Jamie’s return to France, but after he still refused during numerous visits to court and police stations, the authorities in the United Arab Emirates detained him in a children’s centre, located on the edge of a desert near Dubai.

Fiona, from Wylam, said she was seriously concerned about Jamie’s current physical condition, and along with other members of Jamie’s family in the UK, she is campaigning for his release and for him to be returned to where he chooses to live.

“Jamie, at only nine years old, is having to endure more than most adults would be able to cope with,” said Fiona.

“His physical health deteriorated considerably due to stress when incarcerated, and his mental health is fading. We are all desperately worried for his safety and his life.”

Now Jamie’s family has set up a petition which they hope will give Jamie a voice and secure his release. Members of the family have been speaking with the British Foreign Office, but they said that so far they felt little had been done by the government to secure Jamie’s release.

“This is not a custody battle situation,” Fiona explained. “Jamie refused to return to France before any custody was sought through French courts.

“This is about a nine-year-old child being locked away because his wish is to stay living in Dubai with his father. This is about the human rights of a British child being completely ignored.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: “Our staff are supporting the family of a British-French dual national child in the UAE.”