UAE extends Jordanian jounalist Tayseer al-Najjar's detention without trial
According to the information that the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights has received, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities still refuse, to this day, to bring the Jordanian journalist Tayseer Hassan Mahmoud Salman al Najjar before a court. In fact, Emirati authorities have deliberately delayed his verdict after setting the date of the trial for his case No. 63/2016, in utter infringement of the defendant’s right to be tried without undue delay and provided with all the necessary guarantees to defend himself.
We recall that the State Security Apparatus of the UAE arrested Mr. Tayseer as Najjar on December 13, 2015, for a 2014 Facebook post critical of the Emirati authorities’ support to the Egyptian intervention in the Gaza strip. He was also indicted for sedition, endangering and threatening national security, compromising the public order, as well as insulting the UAE’s reputation, leaders and institutions according to the Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combating Cybercrimes.
It is important to note that Mr. Tayseer al Najjar was forcibly disappeared for a three months’ period, during which his whereabouts remained unknown. In addition, he was deprived of his right to legal counsel and right to communicate with his lawyer in privacy. Moreover, he was forced to sign documents while being blindfolded without knowing their content and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Besides, Emirati officials forbid any visits, including lately, a visit from the Jordanian Writers Association who were also barred from seeing him.
Mr. Tayseer al Najjar was held in solitary confinement for months, which considerably impaired his health due to malnutrition and the lack of sunlight. He was later transferred to the Al Wathba prison and kept in cell No 9 where he was exposed toseveral rights violations in clear breach of the Emirati Constitution, the Federal Law No.43 of 1992 on Regulating Penal Institutions and the Body of Principles for the Protection of AllPersons under Any Form ofDetention or Imprisonment.
The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights therefore urges the UAE governmentto:
- Immediately release Mr. Tayseer Hassan Mahmoud Salman al Najjar and conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, as well as to hold accountable all those involved in these violations and enable him of his right to appeal, redress and repair the damage he was subjected to.
- Stop the arbitrary arrest of Emiratis and non-Emiratis citizens who have peacefully expressed their opinions and acknowledge their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates and international conventions.
- Set an equitable, autonomous and impartial judiciary that works in conformity with the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors and ensure that there will be no more undermining of fundamental rights and freedoms.
- Fulfill promptly the pledges made by the United Arab Emirates before the Human Rights Council following the Universal Periodic Review in 2013.