Calls for Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith's immediate release
The Federal Supreme court in Abu Dhabi postponed last week the trial of Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith to 17th October 2016. Dr Bin Ghaith is a prisoner of conscience and faces charges relating solely to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association.
On 26 September Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith, a prominent academic and economist, had his fourth trial session before the State Security Chamber of the Supreme Court.
On 18 August 2015, security officers in civilian clothes arrested Dr. Bin Ghaith in Abu Dhabi and searched his family house before confiscating his personal belongings.
He was held incommunicado until finally being brought to the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi on 4 April 2016, when he told the court he had been tortured and beaten in detention and deprived of sleep for up to a week.
Dr Bin Ghaith is one of a group of men known as the “UAE5” who were imprisoned in 2011 and tried for “publicly insulting” UAE officials. That trial also breached international human rights law and was widely criticised by human rights groups, including signatories of this letter.
Charges in the current case against Dr Bin Ghaith include allegedly “committing a hostile act against a foreign state” in reference to statements he made on Twitter about the authorities and judicial system in Egypt. He was also charged with “posting false information in order to harm the reputation and stature of the state and one of its institutions” relating to other statements he made on Twitter claiming that he had not been granted a fair trial as part of the “UAE5” case.
Dr Bin Ghaith was also accused of allegedly “communicating and cooperating with members of the banned al-Islah organisation” referring to visits and meetings with members of the “UAE94”, a group of government critics and advocates of reform tried jointly in 2013 and sentenced to long prison terms.
Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith’s case has gained significant attention especially from human rights organisations that documented numerous violations against Dr Bin Ghaith including enforced disappearance, torture at the hands of UAE's state security apparatus, and denial of family and lawyers visits .
In this regard the Emirates Centre of Human Rights (ECHR) calls on the UAE authorities to:
1- Immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Naser Bin Ghaith and drop all charges against him.
2- Guarantee the physical and psychological safety of Dr. Bin Ghaith, and open an independent investigation into his torture allegations.
3- Immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in UAE secret prisons.