June 7, 2021
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 emphasize our grave concern for Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, a U.S.-educated economist and former lecturer at University of Paris IV Abu Dhabi who has been imprisoned for over five years, and whose health has deteriorated. We have written before but considerable time has passed with no change to his situation and it truly calls for review and his release.
We wrote you concerning Dr. bin Ghaith’s case on June 7, 2016, February 22, 2017, January 15, 2019, and July 30, 2020. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017. The charges – “committing a hostile act against a foreign state” and “posting false information in order to harm the reputation and stature of the state and one of its institutions” – were based on Tweets that were critical of the government of Egypt and of the legal process to which he was being subjected.
Social media posts are not criminal offenses, they are a form of free expression, one of the most fundamental of human rights. These charges, and the conviction of Dr. bin Ghaith, are illegitimate and we urge you to see to it that he is released immediately and unconditionally.
From August 2015 to April 2016, Dr. bin Ghaith was held incommunicado, denied medical treatment, and allegedly tortured. Since his conviction, he has been held at Al-Razeen maximum security prison, where, it is reported, he has been mistreated, subjected to solitary confinement, and gone on hunger strikes to protest these abuses.
As early as December 2018, it was reported that Dr. bin Ghaith was being denied his blood pressure medication and suffering from a visual impairment, and had become too weak to stand by himself.
In February of this year, Mary Lawlor, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, asserted that the ongoing mistreatment of Dr. bin Ghaith is “in violation of human rights standards and may constitute torture.”
We continue to be appalled at this entirely preventable deterioration of his health, and we urge you to, at a minimum, allow him access to adequate medical care, and to bring an end to the abuses in prison to which he is being subjected.
However, given the fact that he has been imprisoned simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association, we emphasize our call for you to release Dr. bin Ghaith without delay, and to expunge his conviction.
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
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