Egyptian Mosaab Abdel-Aziz Writes from UAE Prison
A desperate plea to the world community from a guiltless Egyptian languishing in a high-security UAE dungeon since October 2014, on baseless charges of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
A year and a half in MOS (UAE Prison) is itself a form of torture.
When I was arrested in October 2014, I had no idea what my crime was supposed to be. Along the way, and after some very memorable interrogation sessions, during which I was terrorized beyond imagining, I just couldn’t convince anyone that I, who did not even pray, was in fact NOT a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, from the moment I was detained, I was deemed guilty with no way to prove my innocence.
I had countless monthly visits to judges who rubber-stamped orders for administrative extensions to my endless detention. There simply is no limit to the number of extensions they can order. Here, one can be held in captivity without trial or bail "for security reasons" and it seems very much "legal".
For the first 14 months, I was repeatedly told my case file was as yet uncomplete. Suddenly, one day, I was summoned to the prosecutors' office to be faced with "evidence" against me. Since, absurdly, I am not allowed to meet my lawyer before the trial, I go alone. To my surprise, they showed me a PDF file that had my father’s name on it and some of his PayPal transactions. These were supposed to be the evidence held against me. I really don’t know what I will be tried for? My confessions under duress? Or my father’s files and transactions?
A year and a half in MBO (UAE detention) is a very long time. With little else to do, one thinks a lot. Had I done anything to land myself in jail? I would ask myself "Why am I here? What did I do to get here? How long will this nightmare go on? Am I sorry? For what?"
However, the curious question is "What will happen to me, if I am sent back to Egypt?" No matter the outcome of my trial, whether I am sentenced to 15 years in jail, walk away a free man, or if they release me without trial, in all cases, I will be deported to Egypt – whether I like it or not. Yes, I have no say in the matter. And no, it is not constitutional, but again neither was kidnapping me in the first place.
In Egypt, the junta imposed an indefinite state of emergency since the 2013 coup. Thousands are dead, while tens of thousands are indefinitely held captive in sub-human conditions. I don’t think they mind throwing in one more.
Unfortunately, there are many cases in which Kin is arrested instead of Ken who is wanted but not found or is out of reach. So sending me to Egypt, where my father is wanted, will most likely lead to kidnapping me yet again.
Then, I can think of the absolute worst befalling my modest person from that point on. I can’t help but wonder how long will this sham go on? How long will I be neither dead nor alive? How long will I be treated worse than a rapist, a serial killer or a drug dealer? How long will people like me become collateral damage? Most importantly, how long will the world stay quite and turn a blind eye while we suffer?
My country has abandoned me. I have no State to back me up or care for my well being. But I have absolute faith that the free people of the world care and support people like me. Please don’t let me down. Thank you. I am Mosaab. I’m not a terrorist.