Friday, March 07, 2014

Middle East: UAE jails three men for up to 7 years on fabricated charges


The United Arab Emirates' State Security Court sentenced three men to jail for 5 to 7 years on fabricated charges of "cooperating with a restricted illegal organisation", said the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), which denounces the ruling.

The State Security Court at the Federal Supreme Court, during a 3 March hearing, sentenced Mahmoud Al-Geda, a Qatari citizen, to seven years in jail after he was accused of providing assistance to a "banned clandestine organisation" as described by the court.

Abdel Wahed al-Badi and Said Buraimi, both Emirati citizens, were handed down five-year jail terms each on charges of joining a secret organisation despite their prior knowledge of its malicious objectives.

According to ANHRI, the unlawful organisation mentioned by the court is the UAE Reform Society which the Federal Supreme Court classified as a banned organisation and called for it be shut down. This came shortly after the court issued a ruling in the prominent case known in the media as the "UAE 94 case", in which 94 activists and reformists were put on trial for belonging to "an illegal organisation". The court sentenced 68 of them to jail for practicing their legitimate right to peacefully express their opinions.

Al-Geda was detained in February 2013 by Emirati authorities, whereas both al-Badi and Buraimi were arrested in March 2013. Their trial began on 4 February
Noteworthy, Emirati authorities detained in February 2013 Dr. “Mahmoud Al-Geda”, whereas arrested both of “Abdel Wahed al-Badi” and “Said Buraimi” in March 2013. Their trial began on 4 November 2013, almost nine months later.

"The rulings issued against Mahmoud Al-Geda, Said Buraimi and Abdel Wahed al-Badi are the latest in a string of verdicts issued by an Emirati judiciary that is not independent of the state against activists and opinion makers," said ANHRI. "This is in addition to putting them in jail for expressing their peaceful opinions and for their demands for political reform together."

The Arabic Network reiterates its demand to Emirati authorities to set all prisoners of conscience free, to drop charges against them, and to cancel articles that restrict freedoms in the Cyber Crimes Combat law.

ANHRI also calls on the authorities to immediately release Mahmoud Al-Geda, Said Buraimi and Abdel Wahed al-Bad, and to drop all charges against them. It also demands that their safety be ensured and any form of prosecution they face halted.