A US-educated economist, Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith was arrested on August 18, 2015 and has been held incommunicado until April 2016. He is now scheduled for trial today, February 22, 2017. CCS has requested his immediate release from the authorities in the UAE.
February 22, 2017
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum
Vice-President and Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Office
P.O. Box: 212000
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Fax: +971 4 330 4044
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world. We write today to express our grave concern for Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, a U.S.-educated economist who is currently on trial after being held incommunicado for more than a year and a half.
Dr. bin Ghaith is being put on trial today for exercising his basic human right to peaceful free expression, association and assembly. Specifically, he is being prosecuted for posting online criticisms of UAE officials and the Egyptian government. These peaceful exercises of free speech have been transformed by the prosecution into charges of “committing a hostile act against a foreign state” and “instigation against the UAE”, the charges that violate widely accepted fundamental human rights norms protecting free expression.
Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith has also been charged with a crime for associating with the banned Ummah Party, apparently because, as a professor of economics, he gave a presentation on the Islamic Economy at the invitation of someone who was a member of that party. This charge infringes on Dr. bin Ghaith’s basic right to freedom of association.
Dr. bin Ghaith was held incommunicado from August 2015 to April 2016, and remained so detained in an unknown location until he was brought to court on April 4, 2016. He claims that he has been tortured, which we consider a credible allegation given the secretive nature of his detention.
Your Highness, we urge you to release Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith immediately and unconditionally, as he has not been charged with a legitimate criminal offense, but only for acts of free expression and association in which he has every right to engage. Allegations that he may have been tortured also must be seriously and thoroughly investigated, and it is imperative that until his release that his safety and good health be assured and protected from further torture and ill treatment.
Also, it is imperative that he be given regular access to family, legal counsel, and medical attention.
Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Minister of Interior
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Zayed Sport City, Arab Gulf Street, Near to Shaikh Zayed Mosque
Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
Fax: +971 2 402 2762/+971 2 441 5780
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Crown Prince Court
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street
P.O. Box: 124
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Fax: +971 2 668 6622
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
3522 International Court NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 243 2432