UAE: Human rights defenders face arrest and judicial harassment
Human rights defenders in the UAE continue to be targeted due to the exercise of their right to freedom of expression, including on-line, and for their peaceful promotion of human rights.
On 16 January 2017, academic and activist, Dr. Abulkhaleq Abdulla was arrested by UAE State Security Apparatus. He is a prominent political science professor and human rights defender. It is believed that he was arrested as a result of postings he made on Twitter in which he promoted freedom of expression in UAE. Details of his arrest and whereabouts are unknown at present. However, concern is expressed for his well-being.
The case of human rights defender Dr. Naser Bin Ghaith has been adjourned until 22 February 2017 following a brief hearing before the Federal Appeal Court. His trial to date has failed to meet basic international standards for a fair trial. He is a respected economist and academic and was arrested in August 2015 during a raid on his home and held in an undisclosed location. Following his arrest he was held in solitary confinement in an undisclosed location for nine months.
He was then transferred to Al-Sader jail where he suffers ill-treatment and is denied necessary medical attention. Charges against him are based on comments he made on Twitter and include allegedly “committing a hostile act against a foreign state,” “posting false information in order to harm the reputation and stature of the state and one of its institutions” and “posting false information about UAE leaders and their policies”.
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)