A British academic arbitrarily detained by the UAE for more than six months filed a formal complaint against Abu Dhabi to the UN on his torture and ill-treatment, which is the second complaint against the UAE in just a week.
The move is the latest in a long series of condemnation of the UAE regime internationally and its gross violations of human rights, both against its citizens and those who come to the country.
British academic Matthew Hedges filed a complaint to the United Nations about ill-treatment during six months of solitary confinement, the Guardian reported.
The UAE accused Hedges of spying for his country’s intelligence before it was decided to pardon him and release him in response to pressure from the British government and international human rights organizations.
Matthew Hedges, a doctoral student at Durham University, went to the UAE for two weeks to discuss his thesis, but was arrested at the airport and spent months in the state security office without windows. He was regularly threatened with torture and interrogation for up to 15 hours a day.
He confirmed that he was regularly interrogated and subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment, including threats of torture if he did not comply with security requests. He was forced to sleep on the ground and was not allowed to see daylight, was forced to take drugs like Xanax and is now dependent on this drug.
In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, Hedges’s lawyer said that the treatment of the British academic in the UAE violated his human rights where was forced to confess to “fundamentally unfair proceedings.”
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has the authority to investigate the arbitrary detention of Hedges and to reach conclusions on gross violations of his fundamental rights. Hedges reputation for life should not be allowed to be damaged by these charges.
“The State Department and the Commonwealth should strive to remove Matthew’s name, but they refuse to participate. We are confident that the United Nations will provide Matthew’s assistance and protect his human rights.”
Hedges was forcibly detained at Dubai airport on May 5 last year after a research trip to complete his doctoral dissertation on the Arab Spring. In November 2018, he was sentenced by a court in Abu Dhabi to a hearing of less than five minutes without a lawyer.
Hedges’ complaint calls on the UN to take into account the shortcomings of the United Kingdom Government and the consular assistance provided to it. He confirms that the Foreign Office has failed to take any steps to cancel his conviction.
Last week, the British football fan from Wolverhampton Ali Issa Ahmed, who was detained and tortured during his vacation in the UAE for wearing the Qatar t-shirt, filed a similar complaint to the UN.
Official British reports have already condemned that many UAE nationals were subjected to harsh treatment in the corridors of the judicial system of their country. The reports referred to the death of Alia Abdel Nour after a conflict with cancer in Al-Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi. after being sentenced to ten years imprisonment on charges related to the financing of terrorism and “Dealing with terrorists outside the country.”
These reports also refer to UAE human rights activist Ahmed Mansour, who served a 10-year sentence for defaming the UAE government on social networks.