Family: Charges in UAE against Canadian-Libyan man changed

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

GENEVA (AP) — The brother of Canadian-Libyan businessman Salim Alaradi, who was allegedly tortured by United Arab Emirates security forces, says a state prosecutor has scrapped terrorism charges against him but "fabricated new charges" that could lead to a conviction.

Mohamed Elaradi, who spells his name differently from the original Arabic, says the move to switch charges at a hearing in the UAE on Monday shows "state security is playing games" and that due process isn't being applied.

The Emirati state news agency WAM said the State Security Department at the Federal Supreme Court heard from a witness in the case, but gave no details about charges being dropped. It said the next hearing is on April 11.

U.N. human rights experts last month demanded that the UAE immediately release Elaradi and other Libyans, including two U.S. dual nationals, who were allegedly subjected to waterboarding, electric shocks and lockups in a freezer over the last year and a half.

Before Monday's developments, Elaradi had told The Associated Press he was encouraged about the prospects of his brother's release after two other Libyans were acquitted in court last week. He said a verdict in Alaradi's case was expected next month.

They were among 10 Libyan businessmen and two American dual nationals detained in UAE in August 2014. Elaradi was put in solitary confinement and says he was forced to listen to the screams of his brother while he was tortured. Elaradi was released in December that year, while Salim was not.

Last week, the Supreme Federal Court in Abu Dhabi acquitted two Libyans, Adel Rajab Beleid Nassif and Muaz Mohammed Habib Al Hashemi, of charges of joining in or supporting militant or terrorist groups in Libya, including Libyan Dawn and Ansar Al Sharia, the state-run WAM news agency reported.

"This outcome has offered encouragement that the UAE judicial system has chosen in this case not to tolerate the state security's approach of acting outside of the law," Elaradi said. "This verdict has given us hope for a similar outcome in Salim's case."

U.N. human rights experts last month demanded that the UAE immediately release him and other Libyans, including U.S. dual nationals Kamal Ahmed al-Darrat and Mohamed Kamal al-Darrat, who were allegedly subjected to waterboarding, electric shocks and lockups in a freezer over the last year and a half.

Alaradi, a 48-year-old father of five and chief executive of a home appliance company, was arrested on Aug. 28, 2014 while on vacation in a Dubai hotel. At around midnight that day, the report said, Alaradi received a call asking him to come to the hotel, where he was detained by plainclothes police officers.