Scholars at Risk (SAR) calls for action to support Dr. bin Ghaith
Scholars at Risk (SAR) expressed its concerns about prominent economist Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, who remains in prison and continues to face due process concerns while he awaits a new trial at the Federal Appeal Court.
UAE state security forces arrested Dr. bin Ghaith on August 18, 2015 and brought him to an undisclosed location where he was denied access to his family, lawyer, and medical treatment for nearly eight months until he was granted his first hearing on April 4, 2016, at which he was not allowed to speak with his lawyer.
Dr. bin Ghaith has since attended several more hearings, during which the court has examined charges laid against him, including “committing a hostile act against a foreign state” and “posting false information in order to harm the reputation and stature of the state and one of its institutions.” The charges apparently relate to a series of tweets in which he reportedly criticized the Egyptian regime, an ally of the UAE, for failing to hold anyone accountable for the 2013 Raba'a Square Massacre in Cairo, as well as tweets claiming that he had not been granted a fair trial as part of the "UAE5" case. At his last hearing, on December 5, court officials transferred his case from the State Security Chamber to the Federal Appeal Court, allowing Dr. bin Ghaith to appeal the charges against him.
While this decision is welcomed,human rights group (SAR) is concerned about the authorities’ willingness to ensure Dr. bin Ghaith proper due process rights and access to medical care in consideration of prior treatment.
SAR calls for letters, emails, and faxes in advance of his first hearing at the Federal Appeal Court respectfully urging the UAE authorities to ensure Dr. bin Ghaith’s right to due process and his well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and proper medical care.