Freedom to Mr. Osama Al-Najjar on 17 March 2017
Geneva, March 15, 2017
The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) in Geneva is awaiting for the release of Mr. Osama Al-Najjar from prison on March 17, 2017, since it marks the end of his imprisonment sentence as it was convicted by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court which violates his right to a fair trial and his right to freedom of opinion and expression online.
The ICJHR expects that the authorities of the UAE will release Mr. Osama Al-Najjar on the specified date. They had already refused to release him in August 2016, despite the fact that he has spent more than three-quarters of his sentence according to Article 44 of the Federal Law on Punitive Installations and Article 302 of the UAE Criminal Law Procedure.
In early January 2017, Emirati authorities have transferred Mr. Osama Al-Najjar from Al Wathba to Al Rezin prison without legitimate reason. In fact, ICJHR expresses deep concern about the potential consequences that might occur to Mr. Osama Al-Najjar‘s physical and psychological safety following his transfer. Al Rezin prison officials are known for their cruelty and tendency to crackdown on the prisoners of conscience using various inhumane and degrading methods.
The ICJHR recalls that Mr. Osama Al-Najjar was arrested on March 17, 2014, for exposing on his twitter account the allegations of ill-treatment and the unfair trial of his father, Mr. Hussein al-Najjar, within the known case of the "UAE 94". Indeed, Emirati authorities considered Mr. Osama Al-Najjar’s tweets to be endangering the state security and its interests, as well as the public order of the country in accordance with the Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combating Cyber-Crimes. Consequently, Mr. Osama Al-Najjar was tried on November 25, 2014 before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court by judge Mohammed Al Tenaiji who sentenced him to a final judgment of three years of imprisonment, a fine of Dh500,000, the confiscation of all his electronic devices and closing all his social media accounts.
Therefore, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) urges the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:
- Open an immediate and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention that Mr. Osama Al-Najjar was subjected to and hold accountable all those involved in these violations before a fair judiciary and enable Mr. Al Najjar of his right to redress and rehabilitation in order to remedy the physical and moral damage he has been subjected to.
- Release the human rights activist and blogger Mr. Osama Al-Najjar on March 17, 2017 as it is the date of the end of his sentence and abolish all forms of discrimination against the prisoners of conscience including, the deprivation of their right to be freed and released after the completion of their imprisonment term or after spending three quarters of their sentence.
- Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders as well as the Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture and Other International Human Rights Organizations to visit the UAE and Emirati prisons in order to inspect United Arab Emirates' commitments to the relevant international standards when dealing with the prisoners.