EGYPTIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS IN PRISON
On 27 June the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced Egyptian national Mosaab Ahmed ‘Abdel-‘Aziz Ramadan, 27, to three years in prison to be followed by deportation.
He was convicted of running an international group in the UAE affiliated to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood without the authorities’ permission; co-operating with an illegal secret organization whose objectives were to seek the takeover of power in the country and oppose the fundamental principles on which it is based; and gathering funds for this organization with knowledge of its objectives.
No judgements from the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court can be appealed, meaning that anyone wrongfully convicted has no judicial means of remedy. Mosaab Ahmed ‘Abdel-‘Aziz Ramadan, whose father was a media advisor to ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, was arrested on 21 October 2014 in the emirate of Sharjah, where he lives. He was kept in solitary confinement in secret detention, with no contact with his family, until his transfer to al-Wathba Prison in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of February 2015.
In recorded phone messages Mosaab Ahmed ‘Abdel-‘Aziz Ramadan said that he was subjected to torture and coerced to confess to membership of the Muslim Brotherhood. He stated: “If I was asked to confess to coming from Mars to destroy earth I would have, just to get it over with… I even asked them to get any ready statement [sic] for me to sign just out of pure desperation”. At the end of 2015 he was taken to the Prosecution without a lawyer and shown a document with his father’s name and some of his on-line financial transactions and told that they were part of the evidence against him. His trial began on 25 April.
Mosaab Ahmed ‘Abdel-‘Aziz Ramadan is the son of a media advisor of the ousted president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi. His sister Habiba Ahmed ‘Abdel ‘Aziz, a journalist in her 20s, died in Egypt on 14 August 2013 when she was shot in the neck by the security forces during the violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in in Cairo. In a phone call recorded on 25 October 2015 in which he spoke in English, Ahmed ‘Abdel-‘Aziz Ramadan said that he was subjected to psychological and physical torture (see: https://freemosaab.com/mosaabs-first-statement/).
Despite certain safeguards in the UAE Constitution and laws, the rights of detainees upon arrest are routinely disregarded, especially in cases where the State Security Agency (SSA) is involved. SSA officials generally arrest people without warrants, then take them to unofficial secret detention facilities where they are kept for weeks or months without charge or access to legal representation.
Detainees are often tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Amnesty International has found that officials often ignore for months families’ attempts to find out where detainees are held. Amnesty International has recorded other instances of foreign nationals being arrested and held incommunicado for weeks or months during pre-trial detention. Detainees held incommunicado or in undisclosed places of detention are at heightened risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Such deprivation of liberty by state authorities who conceal an individual’s fate or whereabouts, placing them outside the protection of the law, can amount to enforced disappearance, which is a crime under international law. The UAE has acceded to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment but the UAE authorities routinely disregard the increasing number of allegations of torture voiced by detainees and their claims have not been investigated.
In November 2013, 20 Egyptian nationals who had been held for months in unknown locations were taken out of secret detention to face trial before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court on charges including establishing an “international” branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood organization and stealing and distributing secret state documents.
In court, many of the defendants complained that SSA officials had tortured and otherwise ill-treated them during lengthy pre-trial detention in secret locations, when they were held incommunicado. They said this was to force them to sign “confessions”, which they retracted in court. However, the presiding judge failed to order an investigation, and accepted as evidence the “confessions” they had retracted.
Trials before the Federal Supreme Court cannot be appealed to a higher court, though international human rights law requires that everyone convicted of a criminal offence has the right to have their conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal. Article 101 of the UAE Constitution and Article 67 of the law concerning the Federal Supreme Court declare that its judgements are final, binding and not open to challenge.
SOURCE : Amnesty International