UAE: After 18 Months of Arbitrary Detainment, the Charges and Prosecution Case File is Shocking, Baseless and Built Merely on Confessions Obtained by Torture
Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 527 Days
For over 500 days Salim Alaradi’s family and human rights organizations have been stressing that Alaradi is a political prisoner, a victim of regional politics and his detainment is related to internal Libyan affairs. Today lawyers confirmed that the prosecution file confirms exactly this.
On January 18, 2016 Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi as well as American nationals Kamal and Mohamed ElDarat, charged in the same case, learnt of their charges for the first time in court. Paul Champ, Alaradi’s Canadian lawyer, described the charges as “bizarre.” Alaradi denied all charges that alleged he funded, supported and co-operated with two Libyan organizations – Libyan Dawn (a Libyan military operation) and the February 17 Brigade (a legitimate military body) which formed during the 2011 revolution and no longer exists.
The UAE has alleged that both are terrorist organizations but neither entity named in the charges is listed by the Libyan government, Canadian government, US government or the United Nation as terrorist entities.
Alaradi’s lawyer did not have access to him prior to the January 18th hearing. Canadian officials were allowed to visit Alaradi on January 20th and described Alaradi in a state of shock and fear from these unanticipated and fabricated charges, which is understandable: the charges can lead to the death penalty or life imprisonment. His UAE local lawyer was finally permitted to visit him on January 24th, but it was a monitored visit.
The United Arab Emirates prosecutor restricted access to the case file until recently on January 28th. To Alaradi legal counsel’s dismay the case is strictly built on confessions signed by Alaradi with witness statements from secret sources. “No court of law in the world should admit evidence tainted by torture,” said Champ, Alaradi’s Canadian lawyer.
Alaradi had previously informed family members and Canadian officials that in late November 2014 while being tortured late at night, he was forced to sign papers while blind folded and under significant physical and emotional coercion. The content of the sheets were never read to him nor was he allowed to read them.
“I cannot comprehend how the UAE State Security can hold my father arbitrarily, torture him, violate every single basic human right, tear our family apart, destroy our family business, and after 18 months all they have to show for it is baseless charges completely built on confessions taken when torturing my father. The prosecution file has absolutely no substance and there is no real evidence. The lawyers are telling us that if this were a fair trial my father would be home by now. From another perspective this is good news because it confirms that my father did nothing wrong and I hope the Judge will reach the same conclusion,” says Marwa, Alaradi’s eldest daughter.
This new discovery significantly undermines the legitimacy of the trial, grossly violates international fair trial standards and demands for all charges to be dismissed.
In the January 18th hearing Alaradi attempted to inform the judge that he was tortured by exposing his body to show torture marks that were still visible. The judge dismissed his appeal and directed him to raise it in the trial.
Over the last decade, the UAE has introduced many judicial reforms; however, the actions of the State Security are damaging any opportunity of a fair trial and undermining the UAE’s reputation. It is time for the highest levels of the UAE government to intervene and ensure that state agencies and officers do not act in violation of the Emirati Constitution and should hold those responsible accountable.
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