International Centre for Justice and Human Rights - Unfair trials in the United Arab Emirates

Geneva, February 8, 2016

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there is a range of abuses, as trials are unfair or continually postponed and detainees are often subjected to torture or ill-treatment. Actually, many detainees like an Omani blogger, Muawiya Al-Rawahi, or the Libyans  are facing this situation during the pre-trial, the trial and the post-trial, where their rights are regularly violated. The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to UAE constitution in Article 28 seems to not real existing.

During the month of January, recent trials for each of Muawiya Rawahi and the Libyans businessmen, have been marred by numerous violations, among them:

  • Almost all trials in UAE started by violations of fair trial standards, including the denial of legal assistance during pre-trial, and allegations of systematic torture. In fact, several victims are also subjected, for example, to a lack of a health report about torture, pre-trials exceeding deadlines, etc. It is worth noting that these trials do not respect conditions of a fair trial as recognized by several international treaties. Despite these international guarantees and safeguards, UAE continuously disregards the right of defendants.
  • Although defendants deny charges against them, they do not have full access to their lawyers or to evidences against them. Sometimes, evidences obtained by torture are used to convict them whereas evidences obtained by torture should be excluded from trial according to rule of due process. Nevertheless, lawyers do not have full access to their clients and case files, and they do not have sufficient time to prepare their clients’ defense. Lawyers appointed by defendants could not find out what the charges their clients were facing until the trial as well. In the case concerning the Libyans, many things occurred that were not matched with the rights of the defendants. Among these, their lawyers had no access to the records and cases files until the trial session, the American and Canadian lawyers of Kamel and his son Mohamed Al darat and Salim Al aradi, were unable to attend the trial to monitor it, and Salim Alaradi, mentioned torture he faced, but the judge answered him that he will listen to him later. The international human rights law recognizes the right to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his/her defence and to communicate with counsel of his/her own choosing; to be informed, if he/her does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him/her, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by him/her in any such case if he/she does not have sufficient means to pay for it.
  • Another important problem concerns the prosecution of the case before the UAE Federal Supreme Court, which deprives the defendants of the right to appeal. Unfortunately, the Article 101 of the UAE Constitution stipulates, “the judgements of the Union Supreme Court shall be final and binding upon all”. That means, convictions and sentences of this Federal Supreme Court cannot be appealed to a higher court, whereas international human rights law guarantees the right to appeal and states that that everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his/her conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law.

Finally, the UAE failed to prohibit torture despite they had acceded to the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and its constitution which states in its Article 26 that “No person shall be subjected to torture or to degrading Treatment”

Because of growing of cases of unfair trials, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) is urgently calling UAE to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally cancel unfair trials which violated international fair trial standards
  2. Exclude from trial any evidence obtained by torture or ill-treatment and order independent and impartial investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and bring those responsible to account
  3. Protect all judicial guarantees and safeguards, including rights of defense ensuring a fair trial
  4. Show a health report and provide any medical treatment when requested
  5. Stop torture or pre-detentions exceeding deadlines
  6. Respect all its international obligations and commitments, specifically those made before the Human Rights Council in 2013
  7. Ratify the International Covenant on civil and political rights, the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights and the Protocols related

For more information, please contact us by email. [email protected]


UAE Re-Election to the UN HRC

Date: November 27th/ 2015

Release #: 0021/015




The Libyan Association for Victims of Torture and Enforced Disappearance in the UAE has raised concerns following the announcement of the United Arab Emirate’s re-election to the UN Human Rights Council that was made soon after the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Torture issued a request to visit the UAE. Mr. Jaun Mendez issued this request on the basis of credible and serious evidence of systematic torture taking place in secret prisons, including evidence related to the Libyan Businessmen.

LAVTEDU has emailed 184 Ambassadors to the United Nations from all member and observer states.


The UAE’s commitment to uphold human rights is highly question. In the last several years, the UAE has banned Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and other experts and activists from entering the country.  It has consistently disregarded UN conventions that it is a signed party to.  The UAE is hiding its human rights violations behind the façade of economy, brands and skyscrapers.


We call on the UN HRC to place a higher level of standards and expectations on those states elected to the council. The UAE must be encouraged to expedite human rights reforms.  This should begin with the immediate and unconditional release of the Libyan businessmen whom have been kidnapped, arbitrarily detained and tortured in UAE secret prisons. It should be followed by the immediate closure of all secret prisons indefinitely and the halt of unlawful torture used against detainees.

In light of the UAE’s re-election to the HRC, in good faith the UAE should announce its acceptance of the UN Special Rapporteur’s request to visit the UAE in the immediate future.



The Libyan Association for Victims of Torture and Enforced Disappearance in the UAE

Press release 21-UN Communications

HRW Report - UAE: Investigate Allegations of Torture of Foreign Nationals

UAE: Investigate Allegations of Torture of Foreign Nationals

Former Detainees Describe Abuse by State Security officers

(Beirut) – United Arab Emirates authorities should immediately investigate credible allegations that state security officers have tortured detainees and prosecute anyone responsible. The detainees include Canadian, Libyan, and United States citizens.

Human Rights Watch spoke separately with three former detainees and a family member of two current detainees, who were among or linked to a group of ten Libyan businessmen detained in the UAE in August and September 2014. The men said their interrogators asked them about their supposed links to the Muslim Brotherhood – which the UAE has designated a terrorist organization - and described a range of abuses, including beatings, forced standing, and threats to rape, kill, and electrocute. Their descriptions are consistent with previous allegations of torture at UAE state security facilities.

Six of the 10 men remain in incommunicado detention, including two Libyan-American citizens, Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat, and a Libyan-Canadian citizen, Salim Elaradi. None have received legal assistance, and it is not clear if they have been formally charged with any offence.

“There is strong evidence that the UAE maintains a facility outside Abu Dhabi city where security forces torture detainees while keeping their location secret,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “Any confessions or so-called intelligence that comes out of that facility should be considered inadmissible and unreliable.”

The three former detainees told Human Rights Watch that state security officers blindfolded, handcuffed, and shackled them to the floor or ceiling of a customized black GMC 4×4 vehicle – the seats of which had been removed to apparently transport shackled detainees – and drove them to a detention center staffed by Nepalese guards and Emirati interrogators. They believed the facility to be close to Abu Dhabi city and said they could hear aircraft taking off and landing.

Two detainees said they were badly beaten during interrogations over more than two weeks. All three said they were blindfolded during their interrogation sessions. Detainees said their interrogators strapped them into what they were told was an electric chair, and threatened them with electrocution. One man said interrogators suspended him by his wrists and ankles from an iron bar and beat him. All three said interrogators threatened them with rape.

One of the former detainees says interrogators asked him to sign a statement that grossly misrepresented what he said during interrogation, and also falsely implicated a third-party in wrong-doing.

Mohamed Elaradi, the only one of the three willing to be identified, has a brother who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction political party in Libya. Relatives of Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat, two of the six Libyans still being held incommunicado, said that Kamal and Mohamed are not members. In November 2014, the UAE government designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

Family members of the Eldarats told Human Rights Watch that authorities have prevented a lawyer they hired to represent their relatives from visiting the men or seeing their case files. It is not clear what charges, if any, the men are facing. The US embassy has told the family that their staff have been able to visit the men.

The UAE ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in July 2012, and is a State Party to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations which requires that consular officers “shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention.”

“In view of repeated credible allegations of torture in the UAE and authorities’ refusal to allow any legal assistance to detainees, the US, Canadian, and Libyan governments should publicly call for the release of their citizens,” Stork said. “They should also demand full accountability for these disturbing allegations of torture and other crimes committed against them.”

Details of UAE Torture Allegations

Former Detainee 1 - Mohamed Elaradi
Mohamed Elaradi, 51, a Libyan who had been officially resident in the UAE for 23 years, told Human Rights Watch that between eight and ten security officials searched his home and office in Dubai on August 28, 2014, and then blindfolded him, shackled him to the floor of a 4×4 vehicle and drove him to a detention facility. He said they placed him in a windowless cell measuring approximately 3 meters by 3 meters. “From that day on, I had no idea of time,” he said. Elaradi spent more than 100 days in detention at this facility and was subjected to multiple interrogation sessions in the initial weeks, always blindfolded throughout. He told Human Rights Watch that interrogators with Emirati accents beat him all over his body, including the soles and tops of his feet, with rubber hoses; doused him with water and subjected him to extreme cold; forced him to stand for days at a time; threatened him with rape; and strapped him into what they said was an electric chair. “You could always hear torture, there was crying and screaming the whole time,” he said, adding that on one occasion he heard his brother Salim screaming. UAE authorities released Mohamed Elaradi without charge on December 25, 2014. He said he did not see a lawyer or receive consular assistance from the Libyan embassy at any time during his detention, and was only allowed one supervised five-minute phone call to his family in November. His brother, Salim Elaradi, whom authorities arrested on the same day, is still in detention.

Former Detainee 2
The two other former detainees spoke to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity for security reasons. They also requested that Human Rights Watch withhold certain details of their detention in order to prevent their identification.

Detainee 2 told Human Rights Watch that more than 10 men in plainclothes detained him, then searched his house and confiscated documents and electronic equipment, before transporting him – blindfolded, handcuffed, and shackled to the ceiling of a 4×4 vehicle – to a detention facility. They did not identify themselves. He said that guards placed him in a windowless cell and subjected him to extreme light and a constant buzzing sound. “The first ten days were the worst of my life,” he said. He said that two, sometimes three, officials with Emirati accents conducted the interrogations. “They beat me with their hands, their feet, anything at all. After ten days my body was black and blue and covered in blood.” He told Human Rights Watch that they suspended him by his hands and feet from an iron bar and beat him. On one occasion, he said, they strapped him into what they said was an electric chair and threatened to electrocute him. He said they threatened to rape him and to detain his family members. He told Human Rights Watch that his interrogators questioned him about the Muslim Brotherhood, and in particular its operations in Libya. He said that during his time in detention, which lasted several months, he signed several documents, one of which was marked ‘UAE State Security.’

Former Detainee 3
Detainee 3 told Human Rights Watch that men who identified themselves as state security officials detained him in late 2014 and then transferred him – blindfolded, handcuffed, and shackled to the floor of a customised 4×4 vehicle – to a detention facility. He said he endured more than 50 interrogations over a period of several months, with most interrogations taking place in the first two weeks of his detention. He said that on at least five occasions, interrogators with Emirati accents forced him to stand overnight, blindfolded, with his hands and feet cuffed. He said his interrogators never beat him but that on two occasions they threatened to kill him, and on another occasion they threatened to send him to another group of interrogators “who have no limits and who don’t distinguish between men and women,” a statement he understood to be a threat of rape. He said his interrogators asked him to sign a statement that grossly misrepresented his relationship with and knowledge of a third-party whom it implicated in wrongdoing. He told Human Rights Watch that his interrogators’ questions were for the most part very general, and focused on his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat
A relative of father and son Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat, both of whom have dual US and Libyan citizenship, told Human Rights Watch that approximately 15 individuals who identified themselves as state security searched their house in Dubai on August 26, 2014, and confiscated documents and electronic equipment. The relative said a female officer told the family that they would never see Kamal again as officers took him away in a 4×4 vehicle. Kamal’s son, Mohamed, informed the Libyan and US embassies of his father’s detention, but was himself detained two days later, on August 28, by the same group of officers. The family did not hear from either man until November 11, when Kamal called and told them only that he was fine. The family has hired a local lawyer, who has been unable to gain access to either Kamal or Mohamed, whose detention location remains undisclosed by authorities. The relative said the US embassy told the family that it cannot call for the men’s release. On two occasions, a family member was able to visit the men. A relative visited Kamal and Mohamed in February and again in August 2015 at the office of the state prosecutor in Abu Dhabi. The relative said that the men were able to communicate to the family that they had been tortured into confessing membership of the Muslim Brotherhood and have suffered “black days.” Kamal Eldarat, who had pre-existing spinal problems, is walking with a severe stoop and has lost his hair and a significant amount of weight, the relative said. Former Detainee 3 told Human Rights Watch that during his time in detention he heard and recognized the voices of Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat, whom he knows, screaming in pain.

Previous Allegations of Torture at State Security Facilities
In April 2012, UAE authorities detained UAE national Ahmed al-Suweidi for five months without charge at an undisclosed location and denied him access to a lawyer. His confession was a central part of the prosecution’s case in the June 2013 conviction of another 68 men on charges that they attempted to overthrow the UAE government. Al-Suweidi revoked his confession and denied the allegations in court, and at least 22 of the 94 people tried in that case alleged that they were tortured in pretrial detention at state security facilities.

In January 2014, 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis were sentenced to between 3 months and 5 years in prison on charges that included running a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE. They also alleged that UAE state security officers tortured them and denied them access to legal assistance for many months.

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


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


Arabic Statement 10042015


#Libya Union of Chambers Requests from @dubaichamber @adchamber to Intervene for #FreeLibyanBusinessmen


General Libyan Union of Chambers


Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the UAE


We congratulate you on the occasion of Eid Al Adha, and we request your respected intervention in encouraging the UAE authorities to release the Libyan Businessmen who have been detained for over one year without any charges. We hope that you would encourage the authorities in the UAE as a sister country to fold/put behind this dark page in the mutual relationship between the two countries.


Mohammed Abdulkareem AlReed


@aechril Supports EU MEP @Miriamdalli Call to Free Libyans Detained in #UAE #cndpoli #‎Libya‬

@aechril Supports EU MEP @Miriamdalli Call to Free Libyans Detained in #UAE #cndpoli #‎Libya‬

Translated Facebook Post:

The Arab European Centre for Human Rights and International Law supports MEP Dr. Miriam Dalli in her demand for the UAE authorities to release the business men who have been detained in its prisons without charges.

The Centre contacted the OHCHR in relation to this matter. The statement issued by the centre in relation to the Libyan prisoners in the UAE has been transferred.


Ms. Mariam Dalli  is EU MEP, Member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament


Statement By The Arab-European Center of Human Rights and International Law

(Unofficial translation - original statement provided below)

المركز العربي الأوربي لحقوق الانسان والقانون الدولي

The Arab-European Center of Human Rights and International Law follows with great concern the continuous detainment of Mr. Salim Al Aradi and Mr. Kamal Al Darrat and all Libyan businessmen arbitrary detained in the UAE without any criminal charges punishable by law regardless of the fact that more than 366 days have passed while they remain detained.

This contradicts all laws and international agreements for human rights. We do hereby request the prompt release of all those detained in the UAE. We further ask that they refrain from the illegal methods, arbitrary arrests, harsh treatment, and torture which is in contradiction of all international agreements/treaties that those detained are subject to its protections.

We further appeal to all international organizations especially Human Rights Watch and Al Rakeeb Human Rights organization to press on the UAE to release those detained and to compensate them for time spent under detention. The Arab-European Center of Human Rights and International Law considers all those detained innocent as no charges have been offered regardless of the prolong detention.

AECHRL Statement