International Observers Blocked from Attending Trial of Political Prisoners in the United Arab Emirates
International delegations of lawyers have been blocked from attending the opening session of the biggest political trial in the history of the United Arab Emirates. Lawyers representing several human rights organisations and the International Court of Justice have been refused access to the Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi amid high security in the city.
Lawyers representing the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Alkarama, Amnesty International and the International Court of Justice were due to attend the trial but have been told they do not have permission. Members of the security services sent lawyers to several different access points before being directed to the Ministry of Justice to be told they should have applied for permission two weeks previously. This procedure had not been communicated to any of the lawyers due to attend.
Additionally, two representatives from international human rights groups have been denied entry to the United Arab Emirates. Noemie Crottaz, from Alkarama, and Ahmed Nashmi of Amnesty International were refused entry and sent back to their respective countries on Sunday, March 3rd. Members of the international media were also blocked from attending, while local media were said to have been permitted access.
Refusing to allow international observers access to the trial is a further indication of the lack of justice in this case. Authorities appear intent on covering up the flagrant abuse of due process that has taken place throughout the investigation as well as refusing to deal with allegations of torture against detainees.
There are serious concerns that evidence obtained through torture will be used against the detainees and without international observation of the trial there are no reassurances that international standards for a fair trial will be met.
We call upon authorities to immediately grant access for international observers to ensure that minimum standards are met and the prosecution does not use evidence obtained through torture. This is a case that has been racked by human rights violations and without observation of the trial there can be no guarantees that the accused will receive fair hearing.
Emirates Centre for Human Rights 03/03/2013
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