Emirati Academic Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith Forcefully Moved to Undisclosed Location
The Emirati academic and prisoner of conscience Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith has been moved on Wednesday morning from Al-Razeen prison to an undisclosed location by Emirati authorities; raising fresh concerns about the welfare of the human rights defender, who was sentenced to ten years in prison earlier this year for tweets that were critical of the UAE authorities.
This comes after Bin Gaith has been denied visits from his family and legal team since beginning an open-ended hunger strike in April of this year, in which he has been demanding his immediate and unconditional release.
It is currently unknown as to whether Bin Ghaith continued his strike, however there have been reports that his health was seriously deteriorating, suggesting that his transfer from Al-Razeen prison may be linked to this. On numerous occasions since his detention bin Ghaith has complained of being denied access to adequate medical treatment.
Despite requests from his lawyer and family to do so, Emirati authorities have so far refused to disclose the location to which Bin Ghaith has been moved, leaving the Emirati academic at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of authorities.
This would not be the first time the Emirati academic would have suffered ill-treatment at the hands of authorities. On 18 August 2015, bin Ghaith was forcefully disappeared by UAE officials and kept in secret detention for a period of eight months without charge or access to a lawyer. During this period, the prominent Emirati economist claims he was subjected to beatings and deliberate sleep deprivations by prison guards and security personnel .
The case of Nasser Bin Ghaith is symptomatic of a much wider climate of repression in the UAE, where human rights defenders, bloggers, and government critics are specifically targeted for all manner of ill-treatment by Emirati authorities.
As these cases build up, it is vital that the international community hold the UAE to account over its flagrant disregard for the rights of those within its borders. Specifically, it is imperative that the British government utilise its close relationship with the Emirati authorities to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, and all other political prisoners in the UAE.
1. For more information on Nasser bin Ghaith's case please see https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/03/uae-prominent-academic-jailed-for-10-years-over-tweets-in-outrageous-blow-to-freedom-of-expression/
2. For more information on the transfer of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, please see http://www.ic4jhr.org/en/activites/statements/777-uae-human-rights-defender-and-academic-dr-nasser-bin-ghaith-transferred-from-al-razeen-prison-to-an-unknown-location-2.html