The court decision will be an important historical turning point which will determine the future of the UAE as regarding its respect of the freedom of opinion and thought or the consecration of repression and tyranny.”M. Jamil Director
Arab Organization for Human Rights in UK today circulated a report to international community about the trial and torture of 94 Emirati citizens on charges of attempting to seize power indicating that the trial concluded and the date of 02/07/2012 was set to deliver the verdict.
The report said that the Emirati Authorities had fabricated this case in the light of the Arab spring and the radical changes taking place in some of the Arab countries to deter the citizens of the state from carrying out anti-regime activities.
In a press statement the Organization said this morning that the report consisted of 150 pages including 31 testimonies sent for the first time to the world officials and documenting what exactly took place since the detention and during the investigation where they were subjected to various forms of torture and degrading treatment. The report also included the proceedings of the defendants’ trial over 13 hearings where the rights of the defendants to defend themselves were violated.
The report showed that General Dahi Khalfan Dubai Police Chief was behind the detention of the defendants as he waged a regular smear campaign in all his press meetings. In accordance with the confessions of Mr. Khalfan he ordered the Security Apparatuses to detain the defendants ten years ago.
The defendants began their activities in 1974 until they were detained. None of them was tried or detained before this time on charges of practicing violence to seize power.
What is surprising is that major (G.M.SH) testified in the hearing on 26/03/2013 that Dahi Khalfan was a shareholder in the Arab company the assets of which were frozen on the grounds that it was belonging to a Clandestine Organization.
According the testimonies contained in the report some of the defendants who spent one year and some others spend six months isolated from the outside world and they don’t know in which jail they are.
They are in a narrow solitary cells subjected to various forms of corporeal and psychological torture. They had been deprived of family and legal visits until the date of 04/03/2013. The defendants met with one another for the first time in the courtroom when they came for the trial in which many of the facts which had been hidden from the public opinion were disclosed.
The owners of the testimonies contained in the report are belonging to the age group from 21-65 years .They are married, they have children and they are holding high degrees and middle certificates and they hold prestigious positions in the private and public sectors distributed to the seven Emirates of the State which are : Abu Dhabi ,Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm AL Quwain ,Ras AL Khaimah and Fujairah .
From the testimonies it turn out that the torture and degrading treatment which the defendants were subjected to accord with the definition of the torture standards provided for in the Convention Against Torture 1984 and other forms of torture ,cruel , inhuman, degrading punishment 1984, “Any work resulting in pain or severe corporeal or mental pain caused to somebody to get from him or from a third person information or confessions or punishing him for a deed he committed or suspected to have committed personally or by a third person intimidating him or forcing him personally or a third person or when such a pain or torture is caused for any reason is based on discrimination of any kind or he incites it or approves it or ignored by an official employee or any other person acting in an official capacity”.
The report classified the torture practiced against the defendants as follows: (we would like to point out that each defendant was subjected to a different kind of torture)
-Detention in secret jails and in solitary cells for weeks or months. These cells are narrow, have no windows .
- Shading strong bright light and without stop on the defendants
- blindfolding from the moment of going out of the cell until the return to it .
- Going to toilets blindfolded and naked except for a towel to wrap the defendant.
- Exposure of the defendant to varying temperatures with nasty unbearable smell emitting from the air conditioners.
- Investigation with the defendant blindfolded
- -Transferring the defendant in a vehicle blindfolded and handcuffed to appear before the prosecution or court or even on going to hospital.
- Putting the defendant in a casket for long hours .
- Cursing and insulting the defendants and threatening to kill or harass the family of the defendant .
- Sever beating on all parts of the body .
- Pulling out the nails (one case)
- Threatening to use the electric chair .Some of the defendants were forced to sit on it .
- Confiscating the watch and medical glasses from the first day of detention until now which caused defect and weakness of the detainee’s site.
- Depriving the defendants from books, newspapers and watching news on the TV and depriving them from paper and pens.
- Not allowing the defendants to perform their religious rites such as voluntary fasting, congregational prayers or Friday prayers .
- Banning the visits of the lawyer and facilities which increased their suffering .
- Failure to provide the required medical treatment to those whose health deteriorated.
On the grounds of the confessions extracted under torture the defendants appeared before the Supreme Federal Court including 13 women, some of them were disappearing, on changes of forming a Clandestine Organization in the UAE and communicating with foreign agencies of seize power by force.
The court included three judges who were Falah Al Hajri and the two judges. Mohammed Ahmed Abdul Qader and Abdul Rasoul Tantawi. The court’s verdicts of conviction or acquittal are final and cannot be contested before any judicial authority . The hearing concluded on 21-5-2013 and the date of 02-07-2013 was set to deliver the verdict .
The report showed that the defense team consisted at six lawyers. Some of them defended one of the defendants or a number of them. One lawyer, Abdu Hamid Al Kumeiti defended 77 defendants . Despite the volume of the case the defense did not have access to the case paper except lately during the trial .
In every hearing, effective from 04-03-2013 and until 21-5-2003 which is the data of ending the hearings, all the defendants were taken to the court in difficult conditions blind folded to appear before the court.
During the above mentioned period 13 hearing were held each lasted from 5 to 7 hours allocated to the defendants and defense. In the last three hearings the defense concentrated on the accusations raised by the prosecution. Given the distribution of time we find that the time allocated to each of them was not enough for the purpose of defense.
Therefore the defense and the defendants have frequently asked the judge to give more time to prepare the defenses as in every hearing the defendants and the defense lawyers complained that they had not received the case papers but the court saw that there was no need for more time.
During the hearings they did not have the freedom to respond to the charges separately to show the grave violations they faced during the investigations.
When it comes to speaking about torture the defendants were prevented from completing their defense. The Security Organs, and from the beginning of the first hearing which was preceded by a media campaign aimed at smearing the defendants, limited the attendance of the hearings to the relatives of the defendant who have security permits and prohibited the human rights activists, advocates and international media from entering the courtroom.
The Organization concluded its report with specific demands including:
- The UAE is one of the UN members which ratified several International Conventions and Covenants that guarantee all aspects of dignified life for citizens, any arbitrary practices by the state will expose it to international accountability.
- The Secretaries Generals of the United Nations, the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Organization should intervene to force the Emirati Authorities to abide by its international commitments, release the detainees and rehabilitate them.
- The special Rappotear of the United Nations Committee Against Torture to investigate in the grave violations which the defendants had been exposed to during the investigation and work to bring those responsible for these violations to accountability.