American Citizens Tortured and Held in the United Arab Emirates to be Released
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today welcomed the acquittals of U.S. citizens Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat by a court in the United Arab Emirates. The men had been held since August 2014.
“Today the Emirati justice system did its job by rightly acquitting these men and the others on trial with them,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “After a persistent campaign by their family, human rights activists, lawyers, and journalists to bring attention to their treatment, this verdict should put an end to the long ordeal the Eldarats have endured.”
Family members of the Eldarats said that although the men had been acquitted they were not immediately released but taken back into custody. The family does not know how long it will take before they are set free.
The two businessmen, father and son, were originally charged with terrorist-related offenses, but those charges were dropped in March 2016, leaving in place lesser charges of providing foreign aid without necessary permission for sending humanitarian aid to a Libyan city during its civil war. If they had been convicted today, each faced up to 15 years in prison.
“These men have been held for nearly two years on unjust charges; we call on the UAE government to release them immediately and bring an end to their ordeal,” said Dooley. “This case raises very troubling issues about the UAE justice system, including the use of torture and enforced disappearance. Without systemic reform, these issues remain serious stains and undermine the UAE’s ‘business friendly’ reputation. We urge the UAE government to use this case as an impetus to eradicate these abuses from its justice system,” said Dooley.