DOHA: The country’s human rights watchdog said yesterday that it will pursue the case of Qatari physician Dr Mohammed Al Jaidah, who was sentenced to seven years in jail by a UAE court on Monday, “until he is released”.
NHRC Chairman Ali bin Simaikh Al Merri described the court verdict as unfair, saying Al Jaidah’s trial didn’t comply with internationally approved judicial standards.
“The NHRC will not consider the issue as closed. We will continue working using all possible legal channels until we secure Al Jaidah’s release and bring him home,” Qatar News Agency quoted Al Merri as saying.
The Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi found Al Jaidah guilty of “supporting a secret illegal organisation” in the UAE (The banned Al Islah group).
“The court’s verdict is final and cannot be appealed according to the UAE law… International human rights groups including Amnesty had said that Al Jaidah didn’t receive a fair trial,” said Al Merri.
Al Jaidah was subject o torture during the long detention and he was not allowed to meet his lawyer individually. His confession was taken by force and this makes the process illegal, added Al Merri.
According to international standards, such a case should not be dealt by a single court but should go through different courts, giving the defendant the right to appeal, he noted
Meanwhile, Amnesty International yesterday asked the UAE authorities to immediately quash the conviction of Al Jaidah, saying the verdict came “after a grossly unfair trial.”
“Today’s disgraceful sentencing of Mahmoud Al Jaidah is a farce and makes a mockery of the UAE’s claim to be a progressive country that respects human rights. He was arrested without a warrant, blindfolded and flung into solitary confinement before being repeatedly tortured, ill-treated and forced to sign papers he wasn’t allowed to read,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“The evidence against him appears scant and his trial was marred by flaws. The charges he faced were politically motivated. He has become the latest victim of the UAE’s deeply flawed judicial system.”
“His conviction must be quashed and he must be immediately and unconditionally released. The unrelenting unfair trials in the UAE must end,” he added.
While in detention Mahmoud Al Jaidah’s interrogators threatened to peel off his nails and hang him upside down until he died. They also subjected him to brutal beatings on his face and his feet, deprived him of sleep and continually exposed him to bright lights.
“Mahmoud Al Jaidah’s treatment in detention was appalling. The authorities have failed to investigate these allegations of abuse. An independent investigation into his mistreatment must be conducted and those responsible brought to justice,” said Said Boumedouha.