Trial of Dr. Nasser Bin Gaith continues


The right to freedom of expression and opinion continues to be violated by the UAE authorities with human rights defenders, lawyers, bloggers, journalists and writers targeted for their legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of human rights. On 20 June the third hearing in the trial of Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, Professor of Economics and human rights defender, took place. Dr. Bin Ghaith was forcibly disappeared in August 2015 during a raid on his home and he now faces charges of allegedly “committing a hostile act against a foreign state” in reference to statements he made on Twitter about the authorities and judicial system in Egypt. He was also charged with “posting false information in order to harm the reputation and stature of the state and one of its institutions” relating to other statements he made on Twitter. His trial was adjourned until 26 September 2016. While in detention Dr. Bin Ghaith has reportedly been subject to torture including sleep deprivation and physical assault and has been deprived of access to his lawyer on a number of occasions. Other human rights defenders and political activists, including members of the UAE 94 group, remain in detention. The UAE 94 are a group of human rights defenders and political activists who were arrested and detained in 2012 because of their peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. They have also reportedly been subjected to acts of torture including sleep deprivation and physical assault while in detention.