Solidarity with UAE lawyers
17 February 2014 ‘Law Gazette U.K’
Earlier this month, the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, published the findings of her nine-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Knaul concluded that the UAE judiciary is under the ‘de facto’ control of the government; that lawyers are working without detailed understanding of a critical state security law that was enacted but never published; that lawyers are threatened, harassed, pressured and placed under surveillance by UAE authorities; and that evidence against defendants is ‘sometimes manipulated and fabricated by the police or other security agencies and the prosecution’.
Knaul also stated that there is ‘credible information and evidence’ that detainees are arrested without warrant, blindfolded, taken to unknown places, held incommunicado, sometimes for months, and tortured.
Among the cases that were brought to Knaul’s attention were the convictions last year of a number of lawyers on charges of ‘plotting to overthrow the state’ after an unfair trial marred by irregularities. Those convicted to lengthy sentences included former judges Ahmed al-Zaabi and Mohammed Saeed al-Abdouli, prominent human rights lawyers Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori and Dr Mohammed al-Roken, and their lawyer Salem al-Shehhi, who was arrested at the offices of the state security prosecutor where he sought information about his clients.
All were arbitrarily detained for months and complained of being tortured in detention, including through prolonged solitary confinement, physical beating and sleep deprivation.
Knaul was also prevented from visiting Qatari physician Mahmoud al-Jaidah in prison despite expressing grave concerns about torture and due process in his case. Dr al-Jaidah was arbitrarily detained for nine months in a secret prison in Abu Dhabi before he was charged. The verdict in his case will be announced on 3 March, although until now no fewer than three lawyers have ceased to represent him within days of being instructed and no lawyer has been permitted to visit him.
We stand in solidarity with the lawyers in the UAE and call upon the authorities to unconditionally release them and quash their convictions. The UAE must understand that its persecution of members of the legal profession and its manipulation of the judiciary have damaged its reputation more than the words and actions of any single dissident.
Nicholas Fluck, president of the Law Society; Professor Sara Chandler, chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society; Kirsty Brimelow QC, chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee; and 37 others. ‘Law Gazette U.K’
UN report says UAE judiciary under ‘de facto’ control of rulers, calls for torture probe
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul offer a rare look into the Gulf Emirates’ judicial system. She said she discovered credible claims of detainees who were held incommunicado for months, exposed to extreme temperatures, and sometimes electrocuted. ‘The U.N. Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul’
‘Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial’. The Executive of the State was duty bound to adhere to the orders of the Judiciary of the land. Flouting the orders of a judicial body is totally destructive of the Rules of Law and norms internationally upheld for safeguarding Human Rights. “Reputation of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates!”