Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith is very ill and in need of immediate medical care due to hunger strike that has lasted over 90 days. His health is critically failing. Dr. bin Ghaith was sentenced to 10 years for criticizing government officials on-line – a guaranteed right of free expression and free association. Initially, Dr. bin Ghaith was not allowed to see either his family nor his attorney for a nine month period when first confined. CCS has written the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates requesting his personal intervention and the release of Dr. bin Ghaith. Additionally, CCS has requested that he receive immediate emergency medical care, his medications and that he be allowed to see his family and meet with his attorney.
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 a hunger strike over his continued detention. He was convicted on charges relating to the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression and association. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. He has been on a hunger strike for over 90 days and his health is seriously failing.
Dr. bin Ghaith was 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” – 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 without the right to communicate with his family or an attorney 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. He requires significant medical care to assure his safety throughout his hunger strike. Currently, Dr. bin Ghaith requires blood pressure medication that has been denied him. Also, it is imperative that he be given regular access to family and legal counsel.
Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Minister of Interior
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
HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
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