Press Freedom Day in the UAE
As the world celebrates Press Freedom Day, many journalists and bloggers in the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE) are paying a heavy price for their commitment to provide the World with independent and thorough information.
The gulf region is marked by extremely restrictive laws on press and publication and cybercrime laws designed to monitor and silence peaceful reporting, activism and debate on social media.
It has been repeatedly used to arrest and detain secretly journalists and bloggers. In the United Arab Emirates, the latest case is the one of Jordanian journalist Taysir Hasan Mahmoud Salman was arrested by State Security Forces on 13 December 2015, and was secretly detained for over two months during which he was denied the right to contact a lawyer or his family.
He reported later to his family that he was detained due to a Facebook post he published in 2014 in which he criticised the UAE's support for the Egyptian regime's policy toward Gaza. Until now, Taysir Salman has not been officially charged and the reasons for his detention were not disclosed. According to Taysir's family, he was threatened and pressured by the UAE authorities to force him to sign confessions.
While Taysir was secretly detained, Alkarama sent his case to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID), which sent an urgent appeal to the State, requesting clarification. After he was presented to a judge, Alkarama also seized the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), requesting his immediate release.