Nasser bin Ghaith: Prominent UAE economist on hunger strike for over a month
A well-known Emirati economist and rights activist has been on hunger strike for over 40 days in a UAE jail.
Dr Nasser bin Ghaith, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for his social media activity, launched his open-ended strike in response to ill-treatment at Abu Dhabi’s al-Razeen prison.
Al-Razeen prison is a maximum-security facility holding predominantly government critics. In recent years it has become notorious for its repressive conditions, with inmates regularly reporting instances of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of warders.
This is bin Ghaith’s third hunger strike at the facility in little over a year. Shortly following his conviction in April 2017, he endured over 40 days without food in protest of his sentence. He then struck for a further 80 days in February 2018.
In a bid to end his latest protest, Emirati security forces have subjected the government critic to death threats and beatings, according to Geneva-based NGO International Campaign for Justice and Human Rights who are in touch with sources on the ground.
On March 29, 2017, Bin Ghaith was sentenced to 10 years in prison for tweets that were critical of the Emirati authorities.
Prior to his conviction he was subjected to an enforced disappearance, where he was held for almost a year without charge or access to a lawyer.
During this period Bin Ghaith alleges he was tortured by security officials. The Emirati authorities have so far refused to open an investigation into these claims.
Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have since launched campaigns demanding his immediate and unconditional release.