UAE detention of Qatari doctor enters sixth month; Islamist ties suspected

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A Qatari doctor who was detained in the UAE some five months ago remains in solitary confinement in Abu Dhabi under suspicion of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, his lawyer has said.

Dr. Mahmood Abdulrehman Al Jaidah, the director of medical services at Qatar Petroleum, has not been charged with a crime, but is thought to be part of al-Islah, a UAE-based society linked to the Egypt-based Islamist group.

Since his arrest during a stopover in Dubai on Feb. 26 while flying home from Bangkok, the 52-year-old doctor has complained of being beaten by authorities and is said to have lost some 10kg and have very limited access to legal representation.

According to his lawyer Abdullah Tahir, who has been tweeting about the case, Al Jaidah has also been accused of accepting an envelope with Dh100,000 (about QR100,000) from an Emirati to be handed over to another UAE citizen in Qatar.

Alleged ties

Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, Al Jaidah’s son Hassan, who is permitted to visit him once a month, said:

“He is not associated with al-Islah or the Muslim Brothers at all. No one who knows him can understand at all why he is being held.”

Unlike in Qatar, which has had strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the UAE has little tolerance for the group.

Earlier this month, a UAE court sentenced 56 individuals affiliated with Al Islah to prison for three to ten years over charges of trying to overthrow the government. Eight people were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail and 26 were acquitted. 

Several human rights groups have weighed in on Al Jaidah’s case. Calling attention to the UAE’s recent pardon of a Norwegian expat sentenced to jail after reporting a rape, the Emirates Centre for Human Rights said:

“Justice in the UAE is heavily influenced by the country you are from and the amount of bad press your case generates…

The case of Dr. al-Jaidah, a respected medical doctor, exposes the harsh nature of justice in the UAE. This is a case where the rule of law has not been applied and a man is suffering prolonged detention without charge as a result.”

Meanwhile, Al Jaidah’s family continues to hope they’ll see him freed before Ramadan is over.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo courtesy of Free Mahmood on Twitter

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