awyers Closing Arguments Establish Prosecution’s Case is Unsubstantiated and Allegations are Groundless

Announcement Date: April 11, 2016

 

Free Salim Alaradi Campaign

Urgent Update – April 11th 2016

Lawyers Closing Arguments Establish Prosecution’s Case is Unsubstantiated and Allegations are Groundless
Canadian Citizen Detained in United Arab Emirates for 593 Days

 

Today was a critical day in the trial of Canadian Salim Alaradi and two US citizens Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat. The final hearing in which defense lawyers gave closing arguments was the very last chance to ensure that the presiding judges comprehended the gravity of the due process violations and the complete lack of evidence to substantiate the charges.

Canadian and American diplomats attended the hearing. The presiding judges scheduled their final verdict on May 30th.

As a recap Alaradi was kidnapped on August 28 2014. He was held incommunicado for four months and then transferred to Abu Dhabi AlWathba prison. In January 2016 Alaradi was suddenly charged with terrorism, specifically funding, cooperating, and supplying two terrorist groups in Libya. The prosecution submitted weak evidence to the courts attempting to demonstrate terrorism actions – one witness statement by a state security agent and confessions coerced from Alaradi while tortured. On March 21 2016, after the acquittal of two Libyans in a similar trial, the prosecution withdrew the terrorism charges and submitted entirely new charges to the court, an action seen by many legal observers as an obstruction of justice. The new charges alleged Alaradi took hostile actions against Libya, without permission of the UAE government, causing adverse impact on UAE-Libya relations. No new evidence relevant to these latest charges was submitted.

Today, Alaradi’s lawyers presented compelling closing arguments that have left no room but for an acquittal. Their approach was to achieve two outcomes – clearly demonstrate the trial has been compromised by legal and due process errors and secondly, to reaffirm that there is no evidence to support the allegations.

Key arguments presented to the court:

  • There is substantive evidence that Alaradi’s statements in detention were coerced while he was subjected to physical and mental mistreatment. By UAE and international due process standards all the confessions acquired via coercion should be disregarded by the court.
  • While he was coerced into signing papers while blind folded the confessions only state that Alaradi sent supplies to the National Transition Council (NTC). The NTC was the internationally recognised government of Libya after the revolution. In fact, the UAE officially announced its recognition of the NTC and bilateral relations flourished with Libya under the NTC.
  • The witness brought forth by the prosecution, which was the only evidence they submitted to corroborate the confessions, was not impartial as he was a state security agent, he would not provide the identity of his secret sources, and his testimony was entirely based on presumptions without any supporting documents or investigative work.
  • When the terrorism charges were withdrawn and replaced, the confessions claiming terrorist actions are voided, and therefore the prosecution has not left the court with any further evidence to substantiate their new allegations.
  • Alaradi has never wavered from the fact that he, like thousands of Libyans and the UAE government, sent humanitarian aid to Libya after the revolution. As a result of the conflict in Libya that led to the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi, the situation became very dire for the Libyan people. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), by mid-June 2011, many civilians fled the conflict and many others were displaced. Médecins Sans Frontières reported in mid-August and later in October 2011 that the delivery of supplies was heavily disrupted by the conflict resulting in shortages in water, fuel, food and medical supplies. Alaradi did not take hostile actions – in fact it was quite the opposite. Alaradi was a man of compassion spending thousands of his own funds to help the suffering people in Libya through the single legitimate channel – the government of Libya.
  • Since 2011 UAE and Libyan relations only improved with the appointments of new ambassadors in each country and several parliamentary and business delegations.

 

The lawyers finally solidified their case by highlighting unchallenged evidence:

  • An affidavit from the former President of the Libyan NTC government in 2011 confirming that it was the NTC who received the humanitarian supplies sent by Alaradi
  • An affidavit from the former Defense Minister of the Libyan NTC government confirming that all supplies were received by the government and the government distributed the supplies accordingly
  • An affidavit by the Libyan Attorney General that Alaradi was never involved in hostile actions towards Libya and is not wanted or under any investigation in Libya

 

“Ultimately the prosecution has placed the UAE Supreme Court in a legal predicament by changing the charges mid-way through the trial and by submitting a case without evidence and asking the court essentially to force a guilty verdict. It has never been done in the highest court of the State,” says the leading defense lawyer.

The US State Department on Thursday April 7th 2016 expressed concern about the trial:

“I’d say we’re concerned about several aspects of the al-Darats’ case – certainly allegations of mistreatment as well as their ongoing health issues, their lack of access to legal representation, as well as a lack of consular access certainly at the start of their detention. And we’ve raised all these issues with the UAE Government, and we continue to call for an expeditious resolution to this case via a fair and transparent legal process in accordance with local law.”

The Canadian government has not made any public statements about Alaradi.

The situation warrants the direct intervention of the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau to intervene and call the UAE’s president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to secure Alaradi immediate release.

 

Opinion Pieces

Huffington Post – Dropping of Terrorism Charges or Obstruction of Charges?

Huffington Post – We Will Not Stop Until Our Father Comes Home

Rabble – Our friends the Gulf sheikhs and the case of Salim Alaradi

Middle East Eye – The UAE must free my brother, Salim Alaradi

 

Media Coverage

BBC World – UAE drops terrorism charges against Libyans

The Guardian – UAE drops terror charges against US and Canadian businessmen over Libya links

Middle East Eye – UAE drops terrorism charges against Libyan nationals

Vice News – Terror Charges Dropped Against Canadian Allegedly Tortured in the Emirates

Huffington Post – Salim Alaradi’s Terror Charges Dropped, Family Says

CBC – Canadian Salim Alaradi has terrorism charges dropped in U.A.E.

AP – Family: Charges in UAE against Canadian-Libyan man changed

Globe and Mail – Terror charges downgraded against Canadian man detained in UAE

Digital Journal – Canadian Libyan dual citizen has terrorism charges dropped in UAE

CNN Politics – Terror trial set to begin for U.S. citizens in United Arab Emirates

Human Rights First – Trial of U.S. Citizens Detained in UAE Resumes

The Globe and Mail – Trial resumes in UAE for Canadian alleging torture

The Washington Post – U.S. citizens tortured into confessing terrorist ties in the UAE, family says

The Guardian – UAE beat foreign prisoners and gave them electric shocks, evidence shows

The Washington Post – Americans tortured by American ally

The Guardian – Two Americans detained in UAE to go on trial after 505 days without charges

BBC – UN experts urge UAE to release Libyan detainees

Guardian – Businessmen held in UAE were tortured into confessions, says UN report

New York Times – UN Calls on UAE to Release 5 Libyans Allegedly Tortured

ABC News – UN Calls on UAE to Release 5 Libyans Allegedly Tortured

FOX News – UAE accused of torturing 5 detainees, including 2 Americans

Daily Mail – UN calls on UAE to release 5 Libyans allegedly tortured

Globe and Mail – Canadian businessman Salim Alaradi on trial in Abu Dhabi in terror case

La Presse – L’ONU demande aux Émirats arabes unis de libérer un détenu canadien

Reuters – UN experts condemn trial of foreign nationals in the UAE, call for release

CBC – United Nations calls for Canadian Salim Alaradi’s release from U.A.E.

Huffington Post – Salim Alaradi Case: UN Calls On United Arab Emirates To Release Detained Canadian

CTV – UN calls on U.A.E. to release detained Canadian

Toronto Sun – UN calls for release of Canadian detained in UAE for year and a half

 

Media Contacts

For further details about Salim Alaradi’s situation and the progress of the case in UAE:

Paul Champ, Human rights lawyer representing Salim Alaradi
T: (613) 816-2441
E: [email protected]

Greg Craig, Lawyer for US Nationals Kamal and Mohamed El Darat and former White House Counsel
T: +1.202.371.7400
E: [email protected]

Marwa Alaradi, Salim Alaradi’s eldest daughter
E: [email protected]

For comments about the case by international legal experts:

Geoffrey Robertson QC
T: + 44 (0) 7940 951731
E: [email protected]

Sue Willman, Deighton Pierce Glynn
T: +44 (0) 20 7407 0007
E: [email protected]

For further background about this case and related human rights concerns in UAE:

John Tackaberry, Media Officer, Amnesty International Canada
T: (613) 744-7667, extension 236
E: [email protected]

Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator-International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
T: (613) 241-5298
E: [email protected]

Nicholas McGeehan, UAE researcher at Human Rights Watch
E: [email protected]

Drewery Dyke, UAE Researcher at Amnesty International
T: +44 (0) 75 3558 7297
E: [email protected]

 


 

For more details about the case please visit:

Campaign Website http://35.193.218.81/
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/freesalimalaradi
Twitter Account https://twitter.com/freesalimaradi
Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/freesalimalaradi