Qatari Doctor Entering 6th Month of Detention Without Charge in the UAE
A Qatari doctor is nearing his sixth month in detention without charge at a secret prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Dr. Mahmoud al-Jaidah, 51, was arrested on February 26th at Dubai Airport while on his way home to Qatar after a business trip to Thailand. For 11 days after his arrest he had no contact with the outside world.
After 38 days his family were permitted a visit, at the arrangement of the Qatari Ambassador in Abu Dhabi, in which Dr. al-Jaidah told his sons of having been beaten and deprived of sleep by prison officers.
Dr. al-Jaidah is yet to face charges and has been denied access to legal representation. It is unclear why he is being held and family members have expressed their confusion as to why a respected medical doctor is being detained in this way.
On July 16th Dr. al-Jaidah was brought before a court in Abu Dhabi where he had his remand extended for a further month. Family and lawyers were barred from entering the courtroom. No reason was given for his ongoing detention.
Indeed, the recent pardoning of a 25-year-old Norwegian, who was convicted of extra-martial sex after reporting rape, came after 3 days of global media coverage condemning the case. This indicates that authorities react swiftly to incidents that could damage the country’s reputation.
This would appear to be further confirmed by last week’s pardoning of three Britons who were serving four-year prison sentences after being convicted of possessing a synthetic form of cannabis. Their release comes after the case received widespread coverage due to un-investigated allegations of torture made by the three men.
Dr. al-Jaidah’s case demonstrates that the rule of law does not govern the treatment of prisoners who may or may not have committed a crime; rather prisoners are at the behest of authorities more concerned with bad press than upholding due legal process.
For the Qatari doctor it is unfortunate for him that his country has poor relations with the UAE and his case has not attracted a similar focus to that of the others mentioned here.
Rori Donaghy, Campaign Manager, said:
“Justice in the UAE is heavily influenced by the country you are from and the amount of bad press your case generates. There appears to be a country code lottery for prisoners: you’ll be pardoned if you are from a country that has good relations with the UAE but languish in prison if you are unlucky enough to be from a country with a poor relationship.
It should not matter where you are from. Prisoners suffering injustices in the UAE should not have to rely on international media to raise their case in order to be afforded a pardon. Authorities must uphold the rule of law, investigate allegations of mistreatment and ensure the judiciary protects the rights of prisoners.”
The case of Dr. al-Jaidah, a respected medical doctor, exposes the harsh nature of justice in the UAE. This is a case where the rule of law has not been applied and a man is suffering prolonged detention without charge as a result.
We call on authorities to put Mahmoud al-Jaidah on trial or release him and investigate allegations of beatings.
For further information please contact Rori Donaghy on +447850062105 or at firstname.lastname@example.org