Date: October 14, 2015
Release #: 0004/015
In the name of God the most beneficent the most merciful
Urgent Press Release
The Torture of Libyan nationals by the United Arab Emirates
and the failure of the Libyan Ambassador to Abu Dhabi
to perform his duties towards them
The families of the detained Libyan businessmen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have expressed their shock from reports based on confirmed information of serious torture and ill-treatment of their family members in UAE prisons.
Representatives from the families were briefed of this reports during their visit with a number of human rights organizations, the United Nations and with a number of lawyers in Geneva and London. The family members are extremely concerned about this information.
These reports identified the UAE state security agency (SSA), which operates outside of the law and without oversight and accountability, as the entity criminally responsible for the torture of the Libyan nationals. They have been subjected to systematic methods of torture of over 20 types including physical and psychological leaving physical marks and emotional impacts. The association confirms that one of the detainees is at risk of permanent paralysis and another detainee is at risk of dismemberment of his leg from the torture. Others are suffering from medical conditions that are life-threatening.
The worst of the information revealed by these confirmed reports is the UAE interrogator’s mockery and insult of the Libyan people, speaking of the Libyan people offensively, which has resulted in psychological pressure on the detainees. This is consistent with the testimony of one of the released Libyan businessmen who has described insults towards the Libyan people made by UAE interrogators, which gave him the emotional strength and the conviction that he was defending his country and people.
The suffering of these families was magnified when they came to know that the Libyan Ambassador to the UAE, Aref Ali Nayed, did not offer a consular visit to the detainees except when Amnesty International’s main researcher for the Middle East and North Africa programme, Drewery Dyke, expressed his great concern from the lack of consular visits from the Libyan diplomat. This resulted in pressure on the Ambassador who eventually visited the detainees after nine months had passed since their arrest.
With respect to the Ambassador failing to perform his consular duties towards these detainees, it is confirmed that he was made aware, during his visit, that the Libyan nationals were subjected to unimaginable torture methods and humiliation. The Ambassador witnessed the marks of torture with his own eyes but he covered-up the information. As well, the Ambassador was aware that one of the detainees is at risk of dismemberment of his leg as a result of the torture that he was subjected to him. With all of this, the Ambassador has never denounced these crimes committed by the UAE’s SSA. The Ambassador, by not saying a word, failed to inform the families of their medical conditions or the torture, he ignored the suffering of these nationals and he did not offer any necessary action to protect them. As well, he has not complied with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations that requires the state to project its nationals and provide them with consular support.
The association confirms the legal right of these families to issue claims against all parties involved in the torture of their loved ones or those who covered-up these crimes in which there is “no statute of limitations”. The association calls for the UAE authorities to show the victims to a forensic doctor and furthermore investigate these crimes and hold those involved accountable before the court.
The association also confirms that there is no legal basis for the continued detainment and that the UAE’s SSA has violated the following:
- Enforced kidnapping as no arrest warrant was presented;
- Searching of their homes and places of work without a search warrant;
- Not informing the victims of their charges at the time of arrest;
- Incommunicado detainment for periods up to seven months in secret prisons outside of the judicial system and UAE constitution which considers these violations, committed by SSA as crimes;
- Torture using inconceivable methods including hitting and beating, sleep deprivation, 24 hours continuous interrogation, removal of nails, breaking teeth, drenching with cold water and placing victims under air conditions and fans, electrocution, being eaten alive by bugs, boxing ring like beating with over twenty torturers simultaneously, electric basins, hanging them from their hands or feet, sexual immoral actions, threats of rape and to the victims and their wives and daughters and many other physical and psychological methods;
- Denying lawyers to know or see the accusations or the legal file
- Denial of their basic human rights extended to them by both the UAE domestic law and international law
The association also confirms the innocence of the Libyan businessmen and that these men have no affiliation to any political or religious group and that they have never committed a crime in violation of UAE law. We also confirm, as did many human rights organizations, that the reason for their detainment was due to the dispute between different factions in Libya and that their detainment was an information collection campaign related to the internal affairs of Libya.
The Libyan Association for Victims of Torture and Enforced Disappearance in the UAE calls on the UAE authorities to immediately release the Libyan businessmen and compensate them for the damages incurred. Resolution of this ordeal is in the best interest of the bilateral relations of the two countries and will close a dark chapter of human rights violations in the UAE.
While the association thanks the Libyan authorities for its support to the families of the Libyan detainees, it calls for the investigation of the Libyan Ambassador and holding him accountable for his failure to protect Libyan nationals, his inability to perform his duties, his cover up of the actions of the UAE’s SSA, his decision to not inform the families of the torture, and his failure to ensure appropriate medical care was provided to the victims and for not complying with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
The association calls on the Libyan people, regardless of their political disputes, to advocate for the case of these Libyan detainees and against those who have committed these unconceivable crimes, who have subjected them to unimaginable methods of torture, who have oppressed these victims, who have insulted and offended Libya and its people; especially from a country which presents itself as a bilateral partner to Libya.
The Libyan Association for Victims of Torture and Enforced Disappearance in the UAE
Tripoli – London – Geneva
October 04, 2015
ORIGINAL ARABIC STATEMENT: