ICFUAE Letter to the UAE Ambassador Concerning the Case of Fahad Al-Hajri, Indefinitely Detained in Abu Dhabi
RE: UAE AUTHORITIES MUST RELEASE FAHAD AL-HAJRI
07 September 2020
Dear Mr. Abulhoul,
We, the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE, respectfully urge you to take the necessary steps to ensure the release of Fahad Al-Hajri, a prisoner of conscience whose sentence expired on 20 March 2020.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Fahad al-Hajri, a Business graduate, was prosecuted by the Federal Supreme Court in the grossly unfair “UAE 94” mass trial. He had been arrested in March 2013, shortly before the start of the trial, and placed in solitary confinement in an undisclosed location until he was transferred to al-Razeen prison. During the trial, the prosecution had claimed that an al-Islah meeting had taken place in his home in Dubai but acknowledged that Fahad al-Hajri had not been present at the gathering. This appears to have been the only piece of “evidence” against him, yet the court convicted him and sentenced him to seven years in prison.
Though he should not have been imprisoned in the first place, he should undeniably have been released after the completion of his full seven-year sentence. Instead, his detention was extended indefinitely under the UAE’s Counter-Terrorism Law with the pretense that he requires “counseling” before being released into society. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that he poses any terrorist threat to the state.
We are very concerned that, as there was no formal judicial verdict ordering the extension of his sentence, he cannot appeal against the decision and is denied the right to a legal remedy.
His ongoing detention violates the UAE’s own laws regarding fair trials and is a breach of international human rights norms. Article 13 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights 2004 clearly states that ‘Everybody has the right to a fair trial in which sufficient guarantees are ensured, conducted by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law, in judging the grounds of criminal charges brought against him or in determining his rights and obligations’.
We call on you, the UAE ambassador to the UK, to use your influence to secure the release of Fahad al-Hajri. Pending this, we implore you to ensure that he is granted regular family and counsellor visits and that he is informed of his renewed release date.
The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE