Coronavirus Patient Sentenced to Life
An Emirati court sentenced an Omani man to life in prison in May 2020, following what appears to have been a grossly unfair trial, Human Rights Watch said today.
“Sentencing a man who has depression and cancer to life in prison using a tainted confession is a harrowing example of the unfair UAE justice system,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
Al-Shamsi, an Omani citizen, was diagnosed with the virus at al-Wathba prison after showing symptoms of Covid-19.
“UAE authorities are refusing to provide information about al-Shaamsi’s condition while holding him during the Covid-19 crisis in a prison known for overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and lack of access to adequate health care,” Page added.
His mother further confirmed via her twitter account that his health condition has seriously deteriorated and added that he has been denied family visits for over nine months now.
The mother expressed deep concern over his health situation especially that he continues an open-ended hunger strike.
She called on Omani and Emirati authorities to intervene immediately for her son's release especially that he suffers different health problems in addition to coronavirus.
Al-Shamsi was attending high school in the United Arab Emirates before being arrested in 2018 and subsequently held in secret detention where he reportedly was subjected to torture during interrogation.
Since his arrest, he has not been able to meet with a lawyer, nor receive consular assistance.
Al-Shamsi was sentenced to 25 years in prison for alleged links with Qatari authorities, a charge which appears to be in connection with the legislation issued in 2017, which declares it a crime to show “sympathy” to Qatar, punishable by imprisonment and a fine.