Canadian Citizen Salim Alaradi Charged in UAE
Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 503 Days
After nearly 17 months of detention in the United Arab Emirates without charge or access to a lawyer, the family of Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi has learned he will be prosecuted by UAE authorities. The man from Windsor, Ontario will learn the charges against him at the start of trial on January 18, 2016 before the State Security Chamber of the UAE Federal Supreme Court.
Alaradi, a successful businessman and father of five young children, was seized by UAE State Security officials in Abu Dhabi on August 28, 2014. Alaradi was held in a secret prison for three months before UAE authorities acknowledged his detention and transferred him to local Al Whatba prison. Canadian consular officials made repeated requests to visit Alaradi, but were only allowed to see him three times during his first year in detention. Local lawyers hired by Alaradi’s family were repeatedly denied access to him until being allowed a first visit this week, only a few days before the trial begins.
The UAE have legal obligations, stemming from both international law and Emirati law, which they have violated through the entire process of Alaradi’s arrest, detention and prosecution. Alaradi was subject to enforced disappearance for almost three months, with UAE authorities refusing to acknowledge his whereabouts. The arrest was carried out without a warrant or having the reasons for arrest explained, in violation of international human rights standards and Emirati law. Since his arrest, Alaradi has not been presented to an independent judge, has not been charged and has not been allowed to challenge his detention. That means he has been held for nearly 17 months without charge or trial, which constitutes arbitrary detention at international law.
Both Alaradi’s UAE and Canadian legal teams have been denied access to the prosecution file and have been told that they will be informed of the charges during the hearing on the 18th. This has significantly undermined their ability to defend Alaradi and violates international fair trial standards.
Most seriously, Canadian authorities and Alaradi’s family are aware of credible evidence that he has been subjected to severe torture. In recent years, UAE State Security has prosecuted a large number of human rights activists, bloggers, lawyers and even former judges based on confessions allegedly derived from torture. It is a serious violation of international law to rely on confessions or statements obtained through torture as evidence in legal proceedings. Alaradi’s family calls on the UAE to investigate allegations that he has been tortured and provide assurances that forced confessions or signed statements that may have been made by Alaradi during coercive interrogations not be used to form the prosecution case against him.
Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring group have closely followed Alaradi’s case and issued urgent alerts. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention have also been investigating the circumstances around Alaradi’s detention since last summer.
Alaradi’s case will be heard in the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court where trials are not held in public, there is no right of appeal and lengthy sentences are routine. While this is extremely concerning, lawyers and family are hoping that while the UAE State Security Forces has operated outside of the judicial system, this may be the first time that Alaradi has a chance for justice with independent judges that have the power to intervene, fulfil their role of “checks and balances” and finally release and reunite Alaradi with his family in Canada.
Alaradi’s teen-age daughter Marwa Alaradi and her family have been calling on the Canadian government and the international community to urgently assist in securing her father’s immediate release. Recently, high-level Canadian officials have expressed concerns with their UAE counterparts and Canadian consular officials will try to gain entry to Alaradi’s trial as observers.
For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
(613)744-7667 #236 firstname.lastname@example.org
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