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International Centre for Justice and Human Rights

Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith convicted to ten years of imprisonment

 over a tweet post

 

Geneva on March 30, 2017

The Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal headed by an Egyptian judge sentenced, on March 29, 2017, human rights activist and economist Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, to ten years of imprisonment  for publishing a Tweet on his personal twitter account @bin_ghaith. The Tweet was considered by the Emirati officials as inciting to sedition, hatred, racism and sectarianism, damaging the national unity and public order, and disturbing the relations between the UAE and Egypt through the Internet. It is noted that the Federal Appeal Court’s judgment can be appealed before the Federal Supreme Court according to the UAE legislation. 

Indeed, the authorities of the UAE have deliberately violated the right of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith to have a fair trial in which he would have been ensured all judicial guarantees. Dr. Bin Ghaih’s right to access a lawyer was denied more than one occasion and when he was represented by his lawyer, the lawyer was not allowed to fully and effectively defend the case on behalf of Dr. Bin Ghaith and respond to the malicious accusations against him. Furthermore, no investigation about Dr. Bin Ghaith’s exposure to torture, enforced disappearance and ill-treatment while in detention was conducted. 

It is also important to note that the fact that the Emirati authorities assigned Dr. Bin Ghaith's case to the Egyptian judge and appointed him as a head of the trial before the Federal Court of Appeal potentially put the court in a biased and impartial position especially, since the attributed accusations against Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith are defaming the Arab Republic of Egypt through "Twitter".

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) condemns this unjust judgment and calls upon the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of the Judiciary to hold accountable the UAE authorities for the unfair trial circumstances and procedures of Dr. Bin Ghaith’s case, which indeed violate the international standards.

Therefore, the ICJHR urges the authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release the academic, economic expert and human rights activist Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith and other political opponents and human rights defenders and stop violating their rights which affects their dignity and humanity.
  2. Open a serious and impartial investigation into the exposure of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith to torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance and hold accountable every person responsible for these violations and ensure Dr. Bin Ghaith his full right to remedy and rehabilitation.
  3. Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of the Judiciary to visit Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith.
  4. Ratify International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and fulfill all the pledges made by the UAE authorities during the Human Rights Periodic Review in 2013.

 

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