Emirati Academic launches open hunger strike for freedom
Imprisoned Emirati Academic Naser Bin Ghaith, who is sentenced to 10 years in Al-Sadr prison in the UAE, began a hunger strike to protest his unfair imprisonment.
Bin Ghaith has issued a public statement from Al Sadr Prison in Abu Dhabi announcing his intention to go on a hunger strike on Sunday (April 2, 2017). On March 29, 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal in Abu Dhabi sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment for his criticisms against the Egyptian and Emirati governments on his Twitter account. The following is the extract of the statement published on April 17, 2017:
“I, Nasser Ahmed Bin Ghaith al-Marri, a prisoner detained by the UAE authorities for more than one year and eight months, announce my rejection of the judgment concerning my case issued by the Federal Court of Appeal after the trial which lasted more than a year. Despite the violations and abuses during my pre-trial detention, I was expecting to have a fair trial. Nonetheless, the judgment revealed that there is no place for freedom of opinion in the country since I was tried not for my acts or deeds, but rather for my speeches and opinions that I had freely expressed, as it is required by the natural rules and guaranteed by the international law and also affirmed by the Constitution of the State.
Perhaps one of the ridiculous and tragic paradoxes in my case is the fact that I was being tried in my own country by an Egyptian judge on charges of insulting Egyptian public figures such as General Sissi and Ahmed al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar, after having criticized the situation in Egypt following the military coup.
Therefore, I insist on my innocence of all the charges attributed to me, and I express my deep sorrow over the injustice and unfairness that I have been subjected to in my own country, the land of good and the homeland of tolerance and happiness, and by my own people, I declare:
Firstly: My rejection and refusal of all the court proceedings and judgments.
Secondly: My decision not to appeal against the judgment since I am convinced that the appeal procedure will not change anything but instead confer the legality and legal status of such politicized judgment.
Thirdly: I had to go on an open hunger strike starting from Sunday April 2, 2017 until the day of my unconditional release and when I will be allowed with my family to leave the country.
I assure you that I made this decision only after I run out of solutions and I had no choice but to fight the battle of empty stomach as a way to save my freedom that was unfortunately taken away by my own people.”
Nasser Bin Ghaith Al Marri from Al-Sadr Prison in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).