UAE: Qatari prisoner of conscience tortured then jailed for seven years

The authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must immediately quash the conviction of a Qatari medical doctor who has been sentenced to seven years in jail today after a grossly unfair trial, said Amnesty International. 

Mahmoud Abdulrahman al-Jaidah was arrested more than a year ago over alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood and faced torture and ill-treatment in detention. He was denied access to a lawyer while held in secret detention and given limited access to one during his trial, in flagrant violation of international fair trial standards. He has no right to appeal his sentence. 

“Today’s disgraceful sentencing of Mahmoud al-Jaidah is a farce and makes a mockery of the UAE’s claim to be a progressive country that respects human rights.  He was arrested without a warrant, blindfolded and flung into solitary confinement before being repeatedly tortured, ill-treated and forced to sign papers he wasn’t allowed to read,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. 

He is one of scores of prisoners of conscience unjustly imprisoned by the UAE authorities in the past year for alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or al-Islah (Reform and Social Guidance Association), an association legally established in 1974 in the UAE where it has been engaged in peaceful social and political debate. 

“The evidence against him appears scant and his trial was marred by flaws. The charges he faced were politically motivated. He has become the latest victim of the UAE’s deeply flawed judicial system. His conviction must be quashed and he must be immediately and unconditionally released. The unrelenting unfair trials in the UAE must end,” said Said Boumedouha.

While in detention Mahmoud al-Jaidah’s interrogators threatened to peel off his nails and hang him upside down until he died. They also subjected him to brutal beatings on his face and his feet, deprived him of sleep and continually exposed him to bright lights.

“Mahmoud al-Jaidah’s treatment in detention was appalling. The authorities have failed to investigate these allegations of abuse. An independent investigation into his mistreatment must be conducted and those responsible brought to justice,” said Said Boumedouha.

For further information, please see Amnesty International’s Public Statement: 

Urgent call for the release of Qatari prisoner of conscience (28 February 2014)