AOHR UK calls for Jordanian journalist's immediate release from UAE jails
Jordanian journalist Tayseer Hassan Mahmoud Salman Al-Najjar, 44, was forcefully disappeared and tortured following his arrest by UAE authorities more than a year ago, according to Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK). Al-Najjar has also been denied a fair trial.
AOHR UK learned that Al-Najjar moved to the UAE after landing a job with Al-Jewa for Culture and Media on 22 April 2015. On 3 December 2015, he decided to travel to Jordan for a short holiday when he was stopped at Abu Dhabi airport and banned from travelling. On 13 December 2015, Al-Najjar was arrested and was held incommunicado until 18 February 2016 when his family learned he was being held in Abu Dhabi, but nothing was known about his whereabouts for months afterwards. His family later learned he was being detained at Al-Wathba Prison in Abu Dhabi and that he was subjected to brutal physical and psychological torture and was not allowed to any time out in the air or visits from his family and lawyer.
AOHR UK added that Al-Najjar was charged over opinions he posted on his personal social media pages years ago, long before he came to the UAE. The opinions in question were critical of several Arab countries’ stand vis-à-vis the Israeli attack on Gaza.
According to the Organization, Tayseer was referred to trial on 18 January 2017 without being offered proper legal representation. His family and his lawyer are not privy to the details of the charges against him. His court session was adjourned until 1 February 2017.
AOHR UK stressed that Tayseer’s experience is similar to that of hundreds of UAE nationals and foreigners living in the country despite an international outcry that urged the government to put an immediate stop to the rampant acts of torture and arbitrary arrests.
AOHR UK called on the UAE authorities to drop all charges against Tayseer and launch an investigation into the torture and medical neglect he was subjected to throughout his arrest and bring those responsible to justice.
The Organization also urged international agencies concerned with putting an end to torture and enforced disappearance to intervene on Tayseer’s behalf and investigate the circumstances of his arrest and subsequent torture. It also urged the Jordanian government to intervene to secure the release of its national, Tayseer Al-Najjar.