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uae activist nasser bin ghaith getty

Geneva, on December 21, 2019

As the Year of Tolerance approaches its end, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights remains concerned by the current detention of Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith and other prisoners of conscience at Al-Razeen prison. A year ago, Nasser Bin Ghaith was on a hunger strike to protest his arbitrary detention and denounce his detention conditions in prison and his deprivation of health care.

Dr Bin Ghaith is a prominent economist and former lecturer at the Abu Dhabi branch of the Paris-Sorbonne University. He was arrested on August 18, 2015 and detained incommunicado in a secret detention facility for nearly eight months without being brought before a judge nor being allowed to see a lawyer or contact his family.

He appeared in court for the first time on April 4, 2016 and was charged with “committing a hostile act against an ally state” and “posting false information in order to harm the reputation of the state”. These charges were brought against him in relation to statements he made on social media criticising the Egyptian regime for the Rabaa square massacre and denouncing the violation by the UAE of fair trial guarantees during his trial within the UAE 5 case in 2011. On March 27, 2017, following a grossly unfair trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Since his arrest, Dr Bin Ghaith has been held in dire conditions and subjected to torture and ill-treatment on many occasions. He went on hunger strike many times to protest his appalling detention conditions and request to put an end to his arbitrary detention. In in accordance with the opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued in October 2017.

Despite the worsening of his health condition, the authorities have denied him appropriate medical care. This was also the case of Ahmed Mansoor and other prisoners of conscience detained at Al-Razeen prison and other detention facilities.

At the end of the Year of Tolerance, it has become clear that the human rights record of the UAE has not improved. Rights organisations and UN human rights bodies have repeatedly expressed concerns about the UAE’s human rights record, especially the situation of prisoners of conscience in the UAE and called on the authorities to immediately address the systematic human rights abuses and release all prisoners of conscience without delay.

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