موقع إخباري يهتم بفضائح و انتهاكات دولة الامارات

Exposure of UAE’s Investment Strategy Unveils Image Polishing Efforts amidst Violations

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The blatant violations that the UAE is witnessing systematically in restricting freedoms and arresting opponents and opinion activists expose the falsity of the UAE’s strategy of investing to polish its image.

For years, Abu Dhabi has invested heavily in portraying itself as a developed, tolerant country committed to human rights.

However, this approach starkly contradicts the reality wherein individuals advocating for rights are detained and prosecuted for merely exercising their freedoms of expression and association. The recent unjust trial of 84 individuals accused of involvement with the Justice and Dignity Committee, an independent human rights organization established in 2010, serves as a poignant illustration of this discrepancy.

Charges were brought against the defendants in December 2023 under the country’s repressive 2014 counter-terrorism law, and hearings began in March 2024.

A recent report by Human Rights Watch divulged the trial proceedings and the treatment endured by the defendants. It uncovered instances of procedural irregularities and accusations of mistreatment.

Concerns about due process violations point to the fact that UAE authorities failed to allow lawyers to freely access case files and basic information about the trial.

In this context, it was noted that the defendant’s lawyers were unable to obtain paper or electronic copies of court documents. Instead, they were only able to watch it on screen in the presence of security officials, and only write manual notes about it.

Moreover, relatives of the accused have voiced significant apprehension regarding the partiality of the presiding judge, alleged to manipulate witness testimonies by instructing them on what to say.

In addition, due to the secrecy surrounding the trial, relatives of defendants are frequently barred from entering the courtroom and lawyers are prevented from sharing details of the case with them.

Furthermore, essential details regarding the case, such as the identities of all defendants, remain undisclosed by UAE authorities to the broader public.

What is known is that Ahmed Mansour, Nasser bin Ghaith, and Khalaf Al Rumaithi, prominent activists and opponents who are already serving long prison sentences, are among the defendants in the trial.

There is also a belief that around 60 of the defendants were previously convicted in July 2013 as part of the UAE 94 case, facing charges linked to their exercise of freedoms of expression, association, and assembly. Many of them remain arbitrarily detained even after completing their sentences.

Moreover, a detainee involved in the UAE 94 case is currently confronted with fresh allegations of “establishing and overseeing a clandestine terrorist group (…), identified as the ‘Committee for Justice and Dignity’,” despite having previously been convicted of association with this committee.

This suggests that the UAE authorities might be disregarding the principle of double jeopardy, which prohibits individuals from being prosecuted again for the same offense once a final verdict has been reached.

The upsetting conditions of imprisonment endured by the defendants raise further alarm. As per Human Rights Watch, numerous individuals were subjected to solitary confinement without any communication for a minimum of 10 months.

Similarly, within the same context, one of the accused individuals informed the judge that he had been held in solitary confinement for two years and had been subjected to repeated assaults by security personnel. Another defendant verified that he had been naked for a week during his solitary confinement period.

The defendants were deprived of phone calls or visits from family members for durations ranging from 10 months to a year, except for a few brief calls in December 2023 to notify their relatives about the new charges filed against them.

As the legal proceedings began, the detainees faced appalling conditions of imprisonment, including physical assaults, denial of medical attention and prescribed medicines, incessant loud music disrupting rest and sleep, and enforced nudity.

This recent large-scale trial, described by the deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa region at Human Rights Watch as “merely a transparent pretext to prolong the detention of these individuals,” represents yet another impediment to the UAE’s efforts to enhance its abysmal human rights reputation.

For its part, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights called on the Emirati authorities to investigate the alleged harsh conditions and put an end to the violations against human rights activists in the country.