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International Centre for Justice and Human Rights

Update on Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith’s deplorable prison conditions

Geneva, January 17, 2017

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) would like to express its concern about the case of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, which was recently transferred from the Federal Supreme Court to the Federal Appeal court. This new development happens in accordance with the adoption, towards the end of 2016, of Decree Law No.11, which introduces the right to appeal decisions of the Federal Supreme Court through a first instance before the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court, and a later appeal before the Federal Supreme Court. The date for his first hearing before the Appeal Court has not been set yet. However, and despite this hopeful progress in the case, the situation of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith remains of high concern.

According to the information received, the conditions of detention of Dr. Bin Ghaith do not comply with the minimum international standards of prison detention. In fact, since his arrest in August 2015, Dr. Bin Ghaith was detained in a secret location for nine month and remains, to date, held in solitary confinement in the Al-Sader prison where he is only allowed to walk outside his cell for an hour per day.

Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith’s health situation is the most worrisome as we have been informed that he suffered from several health-related issues, that the prison authorities failed to address in a timely manner, since his detention in Al-Sader.  For example, he is often denied his high blood pressure medication under false pretexts and was last controlled nine months ago. The refusal to adequately monitor and treat Dr. Bin Ghaith’s high blood pressure puts him at further risk. Moreover, he currently suffers from a serious medical complication that requires the immediate attention of a specialized doctor, a necessary mean denied by the prison administration.

Furthermore, the ICJHR has been informed that he is being mistreated by the prison officers, who arbitrarily ban him from calling his lawyer or family for weeks at the time and are often reluctant to transfer him the money he receives from his relatives to buy items. 

The ICJHR recalls that Dr. Bin Ghaith was previously detained in 2011 as part of the UAE5, an experience he describes as differing completely from what he is currently living. Especially since the verdict in his case has not been rendered yet, and he has the right to be innocent until proven otherwise, a right that is in contradiction with the way he has been treated so far. 

Therefore, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights calls on the UAE officials to:

  1. Release immediately and unconditionally Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, provide him with the adequate and prompt health care and guarantee his physical and psychological integrity.
  2. Open a serious, fair, and transparent investigation into the human rights violations Dr. Bin Ghaith was subjected to, hold accountable the perpetrators of such violations, and provide Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith with full redress and compensation for the abuses he has undergone.
  3. Review the Emirati laws that are restraining the rights and freedoms of the population, including the Anti-Terrorism Law and the Cybercrimes Law, to make them compatible with international standards and all the relevant international conventions.
  4. Fulfil the pledges made by the United Arab Emirates following the Universal Periodic Review before the Human Rights Council in 2013, including the establishment of an independent national human rights institution and strengthening the UAE's cooperation with international human rights mechanisms, as well as accepting international human rights accountability mechanisms


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