Urgent appeal to protect the lives of the detainees and their families in the United Arab Emirates
On Monday, March 4th, 94 civil society and political activists were presented before the UAE public prosecutor on trumped up charges of attempting to overthrow the government and undermine the establishment.
To a man and woman, the 94 defendants categorically denied all the charges. One of the defendants; Ahmed Gheith Al-Sweidi, a renowned economist and a high ranking civil servant, appealed to the judges to protect him and his family. He accused the security services of torture and that his confessions were extracted under duress. He pleaded that his and his family’s lives were under a real and serious threat. According to Al-Sweidi, the State Security served him a stark warning not to retract his confessions in front of the judges.
Indeed, court documents detailing the evidence against the accused rely exclusively on the confession of Al-Sweidi and his comments in court serve to expose the circumstances that the statement was given to authorities. Al-Sweidi denied all charges against him and any confession used by prosecutors must be dismissed and allegations of torture independently investigated.
Other detainees looked tired, disheveled and had lost considerable weight. They demanded to be transferred from their present solitary and unknown detention location to a normal prison. The judges granted their wish and ordered the State Security to move the detainees to a state prison and to end their solitary confinement.
The Emirates Centre for Human Rights is extremely concerned for the safety of Mr al-Sweidi and his fellow inmates since the UAE Authorities chose to ignore the judge’s order and continue to keep the 94 detainees in solitary confinement and in a secret location.
We have commissioned a top UK based law firm to monitor the trials but again, the UAE government refused them entry and rejected all other pleas by international human rights organizations to gain access to the court room in order to monitor and observe the court proceedings.
We call on the international community and the United Nations to intervene with the UAE government to ensure that the trial meets minimum international standards. We also hold the UAE government responsible for the safety of all of the detainees and their families.
These unfair and illegal trials are a test of the international community’s commitment and resolve to stamp out injustices, tyranny and corruption wherever they occur.
Emirates Centre for Human Rights 06/03/2013
For further information please contact Rori Donaghy on: 07850062105 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org