Human Rights Watch has called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of ten detained Libyans, at least two of whom authorities appear to have forcibly disappeared.
According to HRW, the circumstances surrounding the detentions appear consistent with previous cases in which authorities arbitrarily detained Emirati nationals associated with a local Islamist group and foreign nationals with alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both groups were subjected to unfair trials amid credible allegations of torture.
“Enforced disappearances are grave international crimes that can place victims at serious risk of torture and cause their families anguish,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The new disappearances are evidence of the UAE’s increasingly repressive behavior.”
Family members of two of the Libyans, brothers who have lived in the UAE since the 1990s, told Human Rights Watch that neither man has made any contact with their families since security forces detained them on August 28, 2014. The family members said that the authorities refuse to acknowledge that the men are in custody or divulge their whereabouts.
Police called one brother, Mohamed Elaradi, to come in for questioning at the Al Barsha police station in Dubai at 8 p.m. on August 28. He returned home at 11 p.m., accompanied by 8 to 10 security officials in civilian clothing. One of them said they were from Abu Dhabi. The men searched the house and confiscated a laptop, then left with Elaradi, telling the family he would soon return. They have not heard from him since.
Security forces detained his brother Salim Elaradi at a Dubai hotel on the same evening, and searched his home in Dubai, confiscating a laptop and a mobile phone.