Jordanian Journalist's Family Calls for his Immediate Release from the UAE Jails
The family of the Jordanian journalist Tayseer al-Najjar, 42, who is held arbitrarily in the UAE jails, declared intention to wage two protest sit-ins outside the journalists syndicate in Jordan and the UAE embassy in Amman.
Al-Najjar, a father of five children, who was working in the UAE, has been held incommunicado since the UAE Criminal Investigations Department in Abu Dhabi summoned him on December 13, 2015.
On December 3, UAE authorities blocked al-Najjar at Abu Dhabi International Airport, where he intended to board a flight to Jordan to visit his wife and children, al-Najjar’s wife told Human Rights Watch. She said that al-Najjar, a journalist for more than 15 years, had been working in the UAE since April 2015, when he became a culture reporter for the UAE-based newspaper Dar.
Al-Najjar’s wife said she has not received any information from Jordanian or UAE authorities on al-Najjar’s whereabouts or well-being and does not know why UAE authorities blocked him from traveling or summoned him to the Criminal Investigations Department.
On February 10, 2016, Jordanian media outlets reported that the Jordanian Foreign Affairs Ministry had confirmed with UAE officials that al-Najjar is in detention and had not been harmed. Jordanian officials pledged to push a request for family members to visit him.
Al-Najjar's wife said that the protest sit-ins came in protest of her husband's continued detention without charge or trial despite his difficult health problems.
“Al-Najjar’s case bears all the marks of the UAE’s shameful practice of forced disappearances and incommunicado detentions,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “We don’t know why Al-Najjar is missing but we know that he was last seen in police headquarters of a country with zero tolerance for free speech.”
UAE authorities have curtailed the access of international rights groups, journalists, and academics to the country, deported bloggers and proponents of media freedom, and imprisoned people who have provided information to nongovernmental organizations.