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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Outcry over case of Qatari doctor jailed in UAE grows louder

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A Qatari doctor who has been detained in the UAE for nine months will return to a Dubai court this week for a tenth time on charges of supporting a fringe group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Supporters say that the case against Dr. Mahmood Abdulrehman Al Jaidah, the director of medical services at Qatar Petroleum, has no basis, and has also been tainted by torture allegations.

Al Jaidah, 52, was formally charged with supporting the Al Islah group – a banned organization tied to the MB – last week. In court, the doctor denied the accusation, and said information taken from him during interrogations were made under duress, according to tweets from his lawyer, Abdullah Tahir.

During that hearing, the lawyer requested to meet with his client for the first time, and for a copy of the doctor’s case file, which he had not yet seen.

Previously, Al Jaidah had been represented by three Emirati lawyers who “were actually unwilling to do anything to really help him because they were too scared to do so,” said Asim Qureshi, research director of Cage Prisoners, which works on cases in which prisoners appear to be arbitrarily detained.

Earlier this month, Cage Prisoners put together a short film to raise awareness about Al Jaidah’s case, which includes details of his mistreatment in a secret prison in the UAE, which he was recently moved out of:

Speaking to Al Jazeera English, Qureshi said that Al Jaidah has been caught in the “crossfire” of a “power game” between the UAE and Qatar. He continued:

“We’ve built a campaign around his case. We’ve been trying to push for his release. We weren’t even pushing for his charge because we believe in cases where individuals have been tortured in order to give coerced testimony, that that case becomes fundamentally flawed.

“What should happen in this situation is that he should be released back to Qatar.”

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also called for Al Jaidah’s release. And the Qatari government has also been lobbying for Al Jaidah’s return, Qureshi said.

What’s next

At last week’s hearing, lawyer Tahir also sought a witness list, and asked that Al Jaidah be allowed to see a doctor, because he had been bleeding untreated for more than 50 days.

According to relatives, the doctor was detained by UAE authorities in February during a layover in Dubai on his way home from a trip from Bangkok, where had been seeking medical treatment.

He is due to return to court after being seen by a medical examiner early this week.

Speaking to Doha News, son Hassan Al Jaidah said:

“What I want people to know that my father is facing charges in a court thats far away from justice, as they don’t listen to the prisoners requests.

I assume what will happen in the next court is bringing the prosecution witnesses. And I’m not sure if they will allow the defense witnesses to attend as the judge didn’t mention that to the court writer in the previous hearing when the lawyer asked him to do so.”

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