UAE drops terrorism charges on Canadian, American detainees for allegedly funding and supporting terrorist groups
Mar 22, 2016 04:23 AM EDT
The United Arab Emirates has dropped terrorism charges against one Canadian, two Americans and one Libyan who have been detained for more than 550 days in the country.
Canadian-Libyan Salim Alaradi and Libyan-American father and son Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat were apprehended by officials in August 2014, together with Libyan national Issa al Manna. The four were charged with funding, supporting and cooperating with alleged terrorist organizations, particularly Libya Dawn and the Martyrs Brigade. They denied any relation to the said groups.
Paul Champ, Alaradi's lawyer, said the government has dropped terrorism charges against all four detainees.
"It was a real dramatic turn," said Champ. "It seems that state security is trying to salvage this situation and save face when they know they really don't have anything against these men."
The Guardian reported that the men will face less serious charges for giving supplies to terrorist groups in other countries and soliciting donations for them without consent from the U.A.E government.
Alaradi, al Manna and the Eldarats will remain under the custody of the U.A.E government until April 11, during which trial for their case will resume.
"What happened today is clear evidence that my father is innocent," Alaradi's 18-year-old daughter Marwa said, via CP24. "The closer we get to his innocence the more the U.A.E. State Security plays games with his freedom."
The case has been gaining international attention, and the Canadian government and United Nations are getting involved. U.N. human rights experts demanded the release of the detainees after it was reported that the men have been deprived of sleep and suffered torture in the hands of U.A.E. authorities.
According to Vice.com, a doctor's report filed on Monday suggesting that any proof of violence and torture are wanting has drawn doubt and criticism. Alaradi reportedly had 15 scars all over his body, accumulated from beatings he suffered in 2014.
Champ said the Canadian government considers the torture allegations "Serious and credible."
Canadian officials are reportedly concerned with how U.A.E officials are handling Alaradi's health and well-being, and how he is granted access to consular assistance and fair trial.
Champ added there's a possibility that Alaradi and the other detainees will be released before the end of April.