Tortured Emirati activist given 3-year prison sentence on false charges
An Emirati political activist has been convicted of state security crimes in an unfair trial in which allegations of torture were not investigated.
Saud Kulaib, 35, was sentenced to 3 years in prison on Monday February 3rdafter being convicted of blackmailing a state security officer for classified information.
He is an employee of the Ministry of Health in Ras al-Khaimah and a political activist linked with al-Islah, a local Islamist group that has been the subject of a crackdown by authorities after they supported calls for democratic reform in a March 2011 petition.
Kulaib was accused of producing and using videos for blackmail that showed a state security officer engaging in a sexual act. The conviction was based solely on the testimony of the state security officer and the videos in question were not shown to the court as the prosecution alleged Kulaib had destroyed them.
Prior to the trial Kulaib was held in incommunicado detention for 5 months from the date of his arrest on December 29th 2012 until his transferral to Al Sader jail on May 27th 2013. During this period he alleges that he was tortured by prison guards and subjected to extremes of temperature and sleep deprivation.
In a handwritten written letter smuggled out of prison Kulaib said he was beaten, had his hand cut by a razor blade and that prison guards threatened to pull out his fingernails:
“I was suspended several times from the legs, by an iron rod, in an extremely painful position, between two chairs while my hands were tied with an iron chain, leaving marks that are still visible today. I was then severely beaten on the legs for more than half an hour. Next cold water was poured over my head and body. At times my clothes were taken off, leaving only my under-shorts, to torture me in the manner already described.”
At no point during his trial at the Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi were the allegations of torture acknowledged or investigated.
Separately, Saud Kulaib is facing another trial relating to this case in a Ras al-Khaimah criminal court in which he stands accused of producing the videos that he was convicted of using for blackmail in Abu Dhabi. Prosecutors stated that the trials could not be combined, as the accusation of producing the videos is not a state security crime and cannot be heard at the Supreme Court.
When passing verdict at the Supreme Court on Monday the judge stated that the case in Ras al-Khaimah would have no bearing on his judgment regardless of its findings. The Ras al-Khaimah trial continues.
The case of Saud Kulaib exposes on-going issues surrounding a crackdown against political activists that includes consistently unfair trials and a failure to investigate credible allegations of torture.
It is bizarre that two separate trials are needed for the same case and that the trial to establish whether the videos were made is taking place after one has convicted the defendant of using the videos for blackmail.
In the absence of any credible evidence it must be concluded that Saud Kulaib has faced trumped up charges that are simply a ruse to put him in prison for his political activism.
Rori Donaghy, director, said:
“Saud Kulaib has been convicted of an invented crime in a trial that failed to address his serious and credible allegations of torture.
This man has been jailed solely for his peaceful political activism and authorities have manipulated the legal system to conceal their motivation for imprisoning him.”
For further information please contact Rori Donaghy on +44(0)7850062105 or at firstname.lastname@example.org