United Arab Emirates: UAE: Human rights defender and former member of the “UAE5” Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith arrested


On 18 August 2015, human rights defender Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith was arrested by the State Security Authority in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was arrested at 2pm at his work in Abu Dhabi, taken to his home two hours later for a house search, and then taken to an unknown location at 8:30 pm. According to local sources, no further information is available at the moment.

Local sources told the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) that tweets about Egypt may be the reason behind his arrest, but this cannot be confirmed.

Dr. Bin Ghaith is an economist and academic. He has also worked as a university lecturer at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi. Dr. Bin Ghaith was arrested in April 2011 with four other human rights defenders in a case known as the “UAE5”, which also included blogger and human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, a member of the Advisory Board of the (GCHR). The others were online activists Fahad Salim Dalk, Ahmed Abdul-Khaleq, and Hassan Ali Al-Khamis.

The five were charged with “publicly insulting” UAE’s rulers under article 176 of the penal code, which makes it a crime to publicly insult top officials, and with using the banned online political forum UAE Hewar. On 28 November 2011, the UAE president commuted the sentences handed down by the Federal Supreme Court and the five men were freed.

 GCHR joined a coalition of international NGOs to carry out advocacy and trial observation for the UAE5 in 2011. For previous appeals on the case, see (https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/24 and https://www.gc4hr.org/news/index/country/2/page/54.)

Based on previous reports of torture and ill-treatment in custody, GCHR has serious concerns about the physical and psychological integrity of Dr. Bin Ghaith, particularly for those held in secret detention centres of the State Security Authority following arrest, as documented by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. (See also GCHR’s report on torture in detention in the UAE at https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/941). GCHR calls for his immediate and unconditional release.