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International Centre for Justice and Human Rights

UAE authorities continue to violate

Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith’s right to a lawyer visit

Geneva, June 22, 2017

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) has learned that the administration of Al-Rezeen prison continues to harass Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, deprives him of necessary care for hunger strikers, and prevents him from any family or lawyer visits. In fact, the authorities refused the lawyer’s request to provide him with a copy of the court decision and denied his representation of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith despite his appeal and pleading before the State Security. They also refused his request to visit his client in Al-Rezeen prison fearing that he would convince Dr. Bin Ghaith to exercise his right to appeal against the court judgment.

The ICJHR recalls that since his arrest in August 2015, the UAE authorities violated the rights and dignity of the academic and human rights activist Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith including his right to a fair trial. Besides, Dr. Bin Ghaith was also subjected to torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance. Moreover, it must be reminded that on 29 March 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal, under the chairmanship of an Egyptian judge, sentenced him to ten years’ imprisonment for his post on Twitter considered by the UAE authorities as a source to disturb the relations between the State and the Egyptian government and an incitement to sedition, hatred, racism and sectarianism, which damages national unity and public order.

To protest against all these injustices, Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith decided on Sunday, 2 April 2017 to go on a hunger strike and announced his intention not to appeal against the above-mentioned sentence because of his lack of confidence in the justice of the Emirati judiciary. 

Denying Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith the right to a lawyer visit is a clear violation to the right to a counsel visit as stipulated in Article 18 of the UAE Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on Regulating Penal Institutions and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment most importantly Principle 18 (1), which affirms that "A detained or imprisoned person shall be entitled to communicate and consult with his legal counsel ".

The ICJHR calls upon the UN Special Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, on the situation of human rights defenders and on the independence of judges and lawyers to urgently intervene with the Emirati government in order to release Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith and all other detainees of conscience and urges the authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally, release the academic, economic expert and human rights defender Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith and stop violating his rights which affects his dignity and humanity
  2. Immediately allow the lawyer of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith to visit him in Al-Rezeen prison, review its arbitrary decision of not allowing such visit, and comply with the relevant provisions under the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on Regulating Penal Institutions
  3. Provide appropriate medical care to the academic and human rights activist Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith following his decision to go on a hunger strike
  4. Open a serious and impartial investigation into Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith’s exposure to torture and ill-treatment during his detention as well as enforced disappearance, hold accountable every person responsible for the violations, and ensure Dr. Bin Ghaith his full rights to remedy and rehabilitation.

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