The people mentioned in Jackson Diehl’s Feb. 22 op-ed, “Tortured by a U.S. ally,” are alleged to have cooperated with and financed terrorist organizations, some of which are officially designated as such by both the Emirati and U.S. governments. Just as in the United States, these are very serious charges in the United Arab Emirates . And, just as in the United States, the defendants received a hearing, were represented by legal counsel and were allowed to contact their families and U.S. diplomatic representatives.
As noted in the State Department’s 2014 human rights report, the UAE’s “law presumes defendants innocent until proven guilty.” Along those lines, Kamal Eldarat and his son Momed are being provided all of the due process guarantees under the Constitution and laws of the United Arab Emirates.
Yousef al Otaiba, Washington
The writer is the United Arab Emirates’
ambassador to the United States.
I’m an American who was arbitrarily detained by the United Arab Emirates in 2013 for uploading a comedy video about youth culture to YouTube. Unfortunately, I know all too well that Jackson Diehl’s concerns about two Americans imprisoned in the UAE being denied legal counsel and coerced into false confessions are quite valid. During my initial interrogation, UAE police officers made me sign a document written in Arabic, a language I can’t read. Later, I learned that document was a “confession” the police fabricated. The country’s supreme court used it as “evidence” to convict me of “endangering UAE state security.” Throughout nine months of detention, authorities never permitted me to meet with my attorney.
Based on my experience, the claim that the two Americans are receiving “due process . . . in accordance with international fair trial standards” is improbable.
Shezanne Cassim, Woodbury, Minn.