UAE Officials Under Investigation for Torture

UAE Officials Under Investigation for TortureUAE Officials Under Investigation for Torture

The UK police are actively investigating a group of United Arab Emirates officials for torture and cruel treatment inflicted on several Qatari nationals, a human rights lawyer has said.

The Emiratis may be questioned and arrested if they were to enter the UK under the principle of universal jurisdiction, says Rodney Dixon, a barrister at Temple Garden Chambers representing three Qatari nationals, who were imprisoned and tortured between 2013 and 2015 in Emirati prisons, Al Jazeera reported.

“We provided information about 10 suspects. All of them are Emiratis in official positions who were either directly involved in acts of torture or were superiors in charge, who failed to prevent torture to happen under their chain of command,” Dixon told Al Jazeera on Monday.

The three Qatari nationals were taken into custody and held without charge by the UAE authorities at different times between 2013 and 2015.

Speaking to the press in Geneva, Mahmoud al-Jaidah, a 56-year-old medical practitioner at Qatar Petroleum, said he was arrested at Dubai airport and held without charge for 27 months between February 2013 and May 2015.

In the first three days of his detention, he was accused of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and of having transferred funds to cells in the UAE, a charge he strongly denied.

He was held in solitary confinement for seven months, deprived of sleep, beaten up and threatened to be electrocuted, until he was forced to sign a 37-page false confession.

“The torture I was exposed to was unbearable. A man would admit to anything under those conditions. However, I didn’t know what I was signing,” said al-Jaidah, who has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression ever since.

Al-Jaidah and the other victims of torture in the UAE prisons reported the same ordeal: arbitrary detention, solitary confinement, torture and forcible confessions extracted either under threat or with the promise of a speedy release.

“This is a recurring pattern in the UAE, which is of grave concern and has been highlighted also by the UN high commissioner for human rights. The commissioner has raised very serious questions about the UAE [judicial] system,” said Dixon.

Toby Cadman, a lawyer specializing in human rights, said victims of torture in the UAE are seeking justice in the UK and other countries because the UAE’s judicial system lacks independence and the procedural safeguards simply do not exist.


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