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Emirates convicts activist Abdulrahman Binsobeih to ten years of prison

Geneva, November 21, 2016 

The State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi has convicted human rights activist, Mr. Abdulrahman Binsobeih, to 10 years of imprisonment and three years of administrative control following his detention on the alleged charges of belonging to a "secret organization". In July 2013, he was judged in absentia in the well-known case of the “UAE94” and sentenced to fifteen years in prison: the mass trial he underwent lacked the most basic fair trial guarantees. Indeed, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the Special Rapporteur on Torture sent on December 5, 2015, a joint letter to the Emirati officials inquiring about the arrest of Mr. Abdulrahman Binsobeih and expressing their concerns with regards to the allegations of torture and the lack of fair trial guarantees in the case of Mr. Binsobeih. 

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) in Geneva shared in several statements and reports the situation of Mr. Abdulrahman Binsobeih and reported the severe violations against his personal freedom and safety. Mr. Abdulrahman Binsobeih was kidnapped in December 18, 2015, from a police station in the island of Batam, Indonesia, and was later extradited to Abu Dhabi without taking into account the legal guarantees for extradition. Indeed, in Mr. Binsobeih’s case, there was no judicial oversight to ensure the lawfulness of the extradition terms. Moreover, according to international standards, the extradition of persons persecuted and criminalized for their political beliefs and human rights activities that are at risk of being subjected to torture is prohibited.  

Following the kidnapping of Mr. Binsobeih in Indonesia and his deportation on a private jet plane to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Emirati authorities arrested the activist and transferred him to a secret detention facility, where he was held incommunicado for 101 days, without being able to contact his family or meet with a lawyer. Mr. Binsobeih was later brought before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court for a first hearing on March 28, 2016, in clear violation of the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates and International Charters.

We rec all that Mr. Abdulrahman Binsobeih is an Emirati citizen mainly known for his activism and philanthropy work, in addition to his numerous human right and charitable contributions to several Arab and Asian countries. He is also the former president of the International Rescue Committee, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Charity and Humanitarian Establishment and a member of the Al-Islah as well as the former managing director of the Sheikh Hamdan award for Distinguished Academic Performances.

Therefore, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights would like to urge the UAE authorities to: 

  1. Release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Abdulrahman Binsobeih, a human rights activist detained solely for his human rights work, and all the other reformists detained within the case of the “UAE94”.
  2. Open a prompt and serious investigation by an independent body into the illegal abduction of Mr. Abdulrahman Binsobeih and into his exposure to enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, as well as to hold accountable and condemn the perpetrators of the violations and grant him with his right to reparation and rehabilitation.
  3. Provide fair trial guarantees for the detainees, including their right to a legal counsel, the presumption of innocence, the exclusion of confessions extracted under torture and other ill-treatment, as well as the right to the appeal a judgement principle.

 

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