International Centre for Justice and Human Rights
The authorities of The United Arab Emirates refuse to release Mr. Osama Al-Najjar and send him to a counseling center
Geneva on March 20, 2017
The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) has been informed that the authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) refused to release Mr. Osama Al-Najjar after having completed his three-years imprisonment sentence issued by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court headed by Judge Mohammed Al Tenaiji.
In fact, the Public Prosecution has requested the court to extend Mr. Osama Al-Najjar’s imprisonment term and the court accepted the demand and ordered his deposition to a counseling center after he was considered as a “threat” according to Article 66 of the Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorism Offences.
Indeed, deposing Mr. Osama Al-Najjar to a counseling center without specifying the duration of his imprisonment is an arbitrary detention and a further violation to his right to freedom of expression especially since he has fully served his sentence on account of posting a tweet on his personal account, where he exposed the allegations of ill-treatment and the unfair trial of his father, Mr. Hussein al-Najjar, a prisoner of conscience in the notorious case of the "UAE 94".
Moreover, having considered and prosecuted Mr. Osama Al-Najjar as a person who might represent a “threat” to the country is a deliberate misuse of counter-terrorism and the right to freedom of expression by the UAE authorities. Further, it also demonstrates that the authorities use the Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 in an arbitrary manner as a pretext to prosecute human rights activists and restrict their rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the Emirati Constitution as well as other international treaties.
Transferring Mr. Osama Al-Najjar to a counseling center and depriving him of his right to judicial appeal against such decision are not the only violations he has been subject to. Mr. Osama Al-Najjar was in fact subject to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and denial of fair trial guarantees, and was later transferred from Al-Wathba to Al-Rezin prison, where he was abused and deprived of his dignity and physical and psychological sanctity apart from the fact that he was not released even after having spent more than three-quarters of his sentence.
Therefore, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) calls upon the authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to:
- Immediately release human rights activist and blogger Osama Al- Najjar after the completion of his sentence, review the decision of his transfer to a counseling center and stop the discrimination in applying the law to the prisoners of conscience and other prisoners
- Open an immediate and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention against Mr. Osama Al-Najjar and hold accountable all those involved in these violations before a fair judiciary. Further, guarantee Mr. Al Najjar’s right to redress and rehabilitation in order to remedy the physical and moral damage he has been subjected to
- Provide fair trial guarantees for all prisoners of conscience and respect the commitments made by the UAE during the Universal Periodic Review in 2013