Nasser bin-Ghaith, prisoner of conscience, remains unjustly imprisned in the UAE
It is increasingly worrying that information on Nasser bin-Ghaith continues to be few and far between. The highly distinguished economist and former lecturer at the Abu Dhabi branch of the Paris-Sorbonne University was sentenced to ten years in prison on March 29, 2017 and continues to be subject to unwarranted punishment.
Arrested on August 18, 2015 for a series of tweets critical of the Egyptian and Emirati regimes’ human rights records, which were deemed to be “committing a hostile act against a foreign state” that “intended to harm the reputation and stature” of the UAE, bin-Ghaith was held incommunicado at an undisclosed location for eight months - without charge and without access to a lawyer.
Since his imprisonment, bin-Ghaith has undertaken three hunger strikes. The first, which lasted approximately forty days and was initiated in an attempt to secure his release, resulted only in his transferral to the infamous al-Razeen prison in Abu Dhabi. Since his transferral, bin-Ghaith has been subject to beatings, solitary confinement and the suspension of family visitation rights.
His second and third hunger strikes, which both lasted approximately three months, were significantly worsened by the authorities refusal to allow him access to adequate medical care. This has agravated his impaired vision and left him unable to stand.
It is both criminal that he is treated in this manner, and that he is in prison at all. Speaking about his incarceration, Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf condemned the decision, stating that the Emirati authorities “have left no room for doubt: those who dare to speak their minds freely in the UAE today risk grave punishment.”
As the UAE’s ‘Year of Tolerance’ fizzles out, the ICFUAE calls for a demonstrable show of tolerance through the immediate and unconditional release of Nasser bin-Ghaith.