The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (HRD's), Mary Lawlor, sent a letter to the UAE authorities regarding the case of Syrian HRD Abdulrahman Muhammad Al-Nahhas.
In a joint letter with a group of UN experts, Lawlor expressed their grave concern over reports of HRD's enforced disappearance of Al-Nahhas, his incommunicado detention, torture and ill-treatment.
Furthermore, the letter confirmed concerns about information regarding the denial of contact with Al-Nahhas' family and rights violations in his ongoing trial.
The experts pointed out that Al- Nahhas' detention "appeared to be in retaliation for his legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and peaceful work for the promotion and protection of human rights" and stressed their concern about legislation to combat terrorism crimes negatively affecting freedom of opinion and expression, as well as freedom of peaceful assembly and association, mentioned in the previous letter (ARE 6/2020) dated 13 November 2020.
The experts requested the UAE authorities to provide details on the legal basis on which Al-Nahhas was arrested and to clarify how the charges against him comply with international standards.
The letter comes in response to an earlier appeal by Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre (EDAC) sent to Lawlor on May 18 regarding Al-Nahhas.
EDAC's letter indicated that UAE authorities arrested Al-Nahhas based on a letter he sent to the French Embassy requesting asylum, for failing to comply with his efforts to defend human rights in the UAE, and that charges of terrorism and defamation of the state were filed against him.
EDAC added in the letter that Al-Nahhas was subjected to enforced disappearance and denied contact with his family, and that the lawyer hired by the UAE state refused to cooperate with his family or provide them with details about his case.
The experts joining Lawlor in the letter are: Tae-Ung Baik , chairman of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while counter-terrorism and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.