British National Detained Without Charge for Six Months in UAE
It has been reported that Christian Wilke, a dual British and German national, has been detained in the UAE without charge for nearly six months.
Christian's mother has launched an online petition calling for her son's release. In it, she states that Christian was denied access to a lawyer and contact with his family for 52 days after his detention.
According to the petition, Christian's health has deteriorated significantly. Since his detention, he has lost 18 kilos of weight, developed pneumonia and been denied access to adequate medical care.
It is also alleged that he has been subjected to sleep deprivation by prison warders, with the light being kept on non-stop for four weeks during pre-trial detention.
To this day, Christian is yet to be charged with a crime. However, the petition suggests that his arrest could be due to a Facebook post, stating: “Christian mentioned “electronic insults” and says this could be something like sharing the wrong post on Facebook.”
Since the institution of the cybercrime law in 2012, scores of people in the UAE have been detained by authorities for comments made on social media platforms. In 2016 alone, around 300 people were detained as a result of their online such activity.
The change.org petition, a campaigning website currently banned in UAE, has so far garnered over 200,000 signatories in little over a week since its launch.
The case of Christian Wilke constitutes a broader narrative of foreign nationals being arbitrarily detained in the UAE. In recent years, the UAE's judicial system has drawn heavy criticism from rights groups such as Amnesty international for violating basic human rights of both Emirati and non Emirati citizens and acting in a manner that contravenes international law.
- For more information, press queries or comment, please contact the ICFUAE team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07979666698
- For the petition, please see https://www.change.org/p/please-release-my-son-from-uae-prison-freechristian-hhshkmohd