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International Centre for Justice and Human Rights

The United Arab Emirates (UAE): the Federal Court convicts

Jordanian journalist Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar to three years imprisonment for a Facebook post

 

Geneva on March 27, 2017

The Federal Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced on March 15, 2017 Jordanian journalist Tayseer al-Najjar, who is a member of the Syndicate of Journalists and the Jordan Writers Association, to three years of imprisonment and a fine of 500.000 AED on the charge of publishing a Facebook post in 2014 considered by the Emirati authorities as endangering and threatening national security and interests and compromising the public order according to the Federal Decree-Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combating Cybercrimes.

Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar was arrested by the UAE State Security Apparatus on December 13, 2015 while he was on his way to return to Jordan. Since his arrest, Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar was exposed to several rights’ violations. To be precise, he was forcibly disappeared for a three months’ period and the authorities at that time refused to disclose his whereabouts. Further, his wife, Ms. Majida Al-Hourani, along with a Jordanian lawyer named Mr. Faisal al-Khuzai, a delegate from the Jordanian Bar Association, were both prevented from meeting and visiting Mr.Tayseer al-Najjar.

Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar’s right as a prisoner was also violated by the officials in cell no. 9 in Al Wathba prison in clear breach of the Emirati Constitution, the UAE Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on Regulating Reform and Penal Institutions and Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution. 

Besides, the UAE authorities have deliberately delayed to bring Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar before a court. He was in fact tried before the Federal Supreme Court only on 1 February 2017, two years later since his arrest on 13 December 2015. This demonstrates a clear violation of his right, a right of every accused to be tried without delay.

In view of the above, the International Centre for Justice and Human rights (ICJHR) strongly denounces this unjust and oppressive judgment and condemns the human rights violations against Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar undertaken by the UAE State Security Apparatus and authorities i.e. violations of his dignity and integrity, his right to freedom of expression as well as his right to a fair trial with self-defense guarantees.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) therefore urges the UAE government to: 

  1. Immediately release Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar, conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention and hold accountable all those involved in these violations and enable Mr. Tayseer al-Najjar of his right to appeal, redress and remedy the damage he was subjected to.
  2. Establish fair, independent and impartial judiciary in conformity with Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms shall not be undermined.
  3. Promptly fulfill the pledges made by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before the Human Rights Council following the Universal Periodic Review in 2013.

 

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