On Monday, 18 January 2016, after almost a year and a half of detention, an Emirati court has formally charged Salim al-Aradi with two counts of “providing financial support for, and cooperating with, terrorist groups.” When police first arrested al-Aradi, a dual Canadian-Libyan citizen, they did not provide any reason for his arrest. Al-Aradi claims that the authorities held him in secret detention and tortured him. When he attempted to show the judge evidence of torture on his arms by rolling up his sleeves during the hearing, the judge reportedly refused to look. Al-Aradi pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Al-Aradi’s lawyer has stated that the UAE has presented no evidence to support its charges, and that his client has not returned to Libya in 25 years. According to a Canadian government spokesperson, high-level Canadian officials have raised concerns about al-Aradi’s health and consular access with UAE authorities. The spokesperson indicated that Canada’s ambassador to the UAE attended Monday’s hearing, and Canadian officials have reportedly been permitted more consistent access to al-Aradi. Canadian consular officials remain in contact with his family.
Margaret Bailey is an Advocacy Intern at ADHRB.