The release of Lebanese detainees in the UAE on charges of belonging to a party…

The Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, on Saturday, the release of Lebanese citizens detained in the United Arab Emirates since March.

The release comes weeks after the death of a Lebanese man who was being held there.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it “was informed by the Lebanese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Fouad Shihab, Dandan, of the news of the release of all the ten Lebanese detainees, respectively, who were arrested in the UAE about two months ago.”

During the month of March alone, the UAE authorities arrested ten Lebanese belonging to the Shiite sect on charges of dealing with Hezbollah, which Abu Dhabi classifies as a “terrorist” organization, according to Afif Shoman, spokesman for the relatives of the Lebanese arrested in the UAE.

“They were all released from prison, but they are still in the Emirates,” Shoman said.

One of the ten arrested was Ghazi Ezz El-Din, who died in custody on May 4, drawing condemnation from human rights groups including Amnesty International.

On Saturday, Shoman said that the other nine detainees “were released by the UAE after media pressure and campaigns after the death of Ghazi Ezz El-Din,” noting that his body had not yet been sent to his family.

UAE authorities did not comment on the matter and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ghazi Ezz El Din had lived in the UAE for more than 30 years until his arrest on 22 March on unknown charges, along with his two brothers, Amnesty’s Sima Walting said on 12 May.

Walting pointed out at the time that the family was not notified of Ghazi’s death until five days after his death, noting that the authorities contacted the son of the deceased and asked him to come to identify his father’s body and only allowed him to see his face.

“It seems that the UAE authorities are trying to hide the real cause of death and cover up the case,” Waltning said.

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The human rights organization indicated that the authorities also refused to hand over the body of the deceased to his family for transportation and burial in Beirut, and proceeded to bury him in Dubai in the presence of his arrested son and two brothers, who were later released but prevented from traveling.

Over the past years, the UAE has arrested several Lebanese, the overwhelming majority of whom are from the Shiite community, accusing them of dealing with Hezbollah, which it, along with other Gulf states, classifies as a “terrorist”.

And in May 2019, an Emirati court issued a life sentence against a Lebanese citizen, and ten years in prison against others, after convicting them of planning attacks for Hezbollah.

A mediation led by Lebanon with the UAE in 2021 resulted in the release of at least ten Lebanese detainees in the UAE. Seven Lebanese are still in detention, including those sentenced to life or long years in prison, according to the Detainees Committee.

Source: عربي21 by

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