An Emirati in jail for using Twitter to criticise the ruler of Sharjah says he has been tortured by state security officers at a secret prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Osama Hussain Al-Najjar, a 25-year-old engineer from Ajman, was arrested on March 17th and held at a secret prison for four days by state security where he says he was tortured. He is now being held at al-Wathba jail in Abu Dhabi.
After arresting Al-Najjar without a warrant, plain-clothed state security officers repeatedly punched him when he refused to give them his mobile phone password before blindfolding and handcuffing him in a car to be taken to a secret detention facility and held in solitary confinement.
On arrival at the secret prison he was immediately interrogated by officers who strapped him into a chair in which he could not move. Officers then beat him on his face, ears and body and hit his legs with plastic-covered wire. The interrogation and beatings were carried out by two unidentifiable Emirati officers.
Scars from being handcuffed on his wrists and ankles remain visible.
He was held in solitary confinement for four days in the secret prison, during which time he was interrogated five times from early evening until after sunrise. He would only be allowed to return to his cell for prayer and food before carrying on the interrogation.
Al-Najjar says that the charges against him are belonging to the reformist organisation al-Islah, offending the state and inciting hate against the state on Twitter in relation to allegations his father, who is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted in the much criticised UAE 94 trial, has been tortured in prison.
Prior to his arrest Al-Najjar used Twitter to criticise the ruler of Sharjah, bysaying:
“Your Highness, we do not hate our country and do not forget the injustice of the oppressor even if our mothers do not tell us. The people responsible for imprisoning and harassing my father for the past 20 months owe him.”
Osama Hussain Al-Najjar was arrested without due legal process, held and tortured by state security at a secret prison, all because he used social media to criticise authorities who have abused the human rights of their citizens.
The Emirates Centre for Human Rights calls on authorities to impartially investigate all allegations of torture against prisoners and end their crackdown against those who peacefully criticise or express a political opinion.