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Former Libyan detainees allege 'torture' in the UAE Open in fullscreen

Imogen Lambert

Former Libyan detainees allege 'torture' in the UAE

Nayed, Libya's ambassador to the UAE, has been accused of complicity in the detentions [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 July, 2015

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Blog: Libyan businessmen, previously imprisoned by the UAE, have issued a statement describing torture during their detention, and appealed to Emirati authorities to release other Libyan prisoners.
A group of four Libyan businessmen who were detained for 120 days in the United Arab Emirates and released in December last year have released a statement documenting their suffering at the hands of Emirati authorities.

"Despite the brutal torture and oppression, the enforced disappearance in secret prisons in the UAE, and despite the consequence of health and psychological problems and considerable material losses; we remain without any resentment towards the UAE constitution and the laws of the state," the statement read.

"We remain silent, and we continue to appeal for the calm and diplomatic resolution of this problem and for the release of the remaining Libyan nationals who are still languishing in prison."

As Eid al-Fitr was being marked around the world, during which traditionally acts of "mercy" are enouraged, the former detainees called on the rulers of the UAE to "intervene for the immediate release" of Libyans who are still detained there.

Salim al-Aradi is the brother of one of the men released. He holds Canadian citizenship, and has now been detained for nearly a year.  

At a UN Human Rights Council hearing in June, Salim's family told of his mistreatment, fearing complications affecting his ill health. The special rapporteur called for the release of all political prisoners in the UAE.

"He has limited access to health facilities," Shazia Arshad from the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE) told al-Araby. "We suspect he's suffering as a result of this." 
     There has been no given reason given for their detention
- Shazia Arshad, ICFUAE

Aradi's brother, Abdul Rizek, is understood to be a Muslim Brotherhood MP in Libya - and his political affiliations may have motivated the arrest. 

In a statement on Facebook, Abdul Rizek accused Libya's ambassador to the UAE, Aref Ali Nayed, of being "solely responsible" for their detention.  

However, Abdul Rizek's brothers, who have resided in the UAE since the 1990s, reportedly have no such political alliances.

"There has been no given reason given for their detention," Arshad said - adding that this lack of evidence could be why some of the Libyans were released.

The UAE authorities have also detained a number of Egyptians they alleged to be associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Libyan detainees were among 30 of their countrymen who disappeared in the UAE shortly after it was reported that the tiny Gulf emirate was bombing Islamist militias in Libya.  

"The UAE has grown accustomed to its serial violations of human rights passing without comment from an international community that appears cowed by its aggressive diplomacy," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, at the time of the Libyans' disappearance.

"The longer this silence goes on, the more the international community appears to send a message that it does not care."

The ICFUAE, meanwhile, says that - as well as Libyans remaining in detention - there are many other foreign Arab nationals held in the UAE, including Egyptians, Omanis and Yemenis.  

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