Media Advisory UAE: String of upcoming counter-terror trials highlights pattern of detainee abuse

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) violation of the rights of detainees will come under increased scrutiny over the next couple of weeks as a series of counter-terror trials reach their end, said Amnesty International.

Since 2011 scores of Emiratis and non-Emiratis have been arbitrarily arrested using broad counter-terrorism laws.

“In recent years the UAE authorities have increasingly resorted to using catch-all ‘terrorism’ or national security allegations to arbitrarily detain suspects. In many cases they are held in secret detention for months on end, in some cases reporting torture or other ill-treatment, before being put through deeply unfair trials,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“The UAE government must stop resorting to the use of counterterrorism provisions that pave the way to unfair trials. The UAE government has every right to ensure security, but not to trample over people’s rights. Anyone suspected of committing an internationally recognizable criminal offence should be brought to justice in fair trials that meet international standards.”

As a first step Amnesty International is calling on the UAE authorities to implement a recent recommendation by the UN and ensure that two arbitrarily detained Libyans, Mo’ad Mohammad al-Hashmi and Adel Rajeb Nasef, are released or promptly re-tried in proceedings that fully respect their right to a fair trial.

Upcoming trials dates

29 February: Verdict expected in the case of Libyan men, Mo’ad Mohammad al-Hashmi and ‘Adel Rajeb Nasef  who have been arbitrarily detained in the UAE. Earlier this month a group of UN human rights experts, including UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E Mendez and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention urged the UAE authorities to release them immediately.

6 March: Verdict expected in the case of a mass trial of 41 men including 39 UAE nationals known as Shabab Al Manarah (Minaret Youth group) charged with terrorism-related offences. At least 21 of them were held in secret detention without access to their lawyers or families for 20 months before trial and may have suffered torture or other ill-treatment.

14 March: Trial of Omani blogger Muawiya al-Ruwahi for his Twitter posts threatening the UAE authorities. He was held in secret detention and denied access to a lawyer and said he was forced to “confess” under “mental and physical pressure”. He is also believed to have mental health problems.

For more information or to arrange an interview please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or +44 (0) 777 847 2126 email: [email protected]

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