UAE: Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith on Hunger Strike for 70 Days at Al-Razeen Prison

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Geneva, December 18, 2018

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights learned that the hunger strike of the Emirati human rights activist and academic Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith is still ongoing at Al-Razeen prison. He is still refusing food and continuing his hunger strike to protest against the authorities’ refusal to release him despite his repeated requests.

He has been on hunger strike for more than 70 days, and he is currently suffering from different health problems, such as a visual impairment and inability to stand by himself. Despite his condition, the prison authorities haven’t provided him with proper medical care and appropriate medication.

Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith has been on a hunger strike since October 2018. In fact, he has constantly fought “the battle of empty stomachs” since his verdict, in protest against the ill-treatment in prison and his arbitrary detention following his grossly unfair trial. He is also arbitrarily deprived from family visits.

The human rights defender is refusing to end his hunger strike because Emirati authorities are keeping him in jail while releasing others, such as British Academic researcher Matthew Hedges. In fact, Matthew Hedges was freed following a presidential pardon issued by the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a few days after the verdict of the Federal Appeal Court sentencing him to life imprisonment over spying charges on November 21, 2018.

In fact, the Federal Court of Appeal rendered its ruling on March 29, 2017, convicting Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith to 10 years imprisonment in flagrant breach of the fair trial guarantees, by solely relying on confessions extracted under torture. In fact, he was jailed because of a tweet in which he criticised the human rights violations committed by the Egyptian authorities. Thus, this was considered by the UAE government as an act aiming at “disturbing the good relations with the Egyptian state through Internet, provoking sedition, hatred and racism, damaging national unity and social peace ” pursuant to Federal Law on Cyber- Crimes.

In view of the above, the ICJHR calls upon the authorities of the UAE to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release the academic and human rights activist Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith and other prisoners of conscience and grant them their liberty as it was the case for the British Academic researcher Matthew Hedges.
  • Take full responsibility for the hunger strike of Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith and his health deterioration.
  • Conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment against Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith, which affected his physical and psychological integrity.
  • Hold accountable every person responsible for these violations and grant Dr Bin Ghaith his full rights to remedy and rehabilitation.

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This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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