(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Four Libyan nationals, including two Libyan Americans, and a Libyan Canadian who were detained in the United Arab Emirates for nearly two years were acquitted on Monday of charges that they illegally raised funds for a foreign entity and took hostile actions against a foreign country.
Libyan Canadian Salim Alaradi, 47, Libyan American Kamal Eldarat, 55, and his son Mohammed, 34, along with Libyan Essa AlManna, 66, were all illegally arrested and arbitrarily detained in the UAE since August 2014, shortly after the start of the Second Libyan Civil War.
The UAE has intervened in Libya since the onset of Libyan Revolution that toppled former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The UAE began backing the rogue General Khalifa Haftar and his war against Islamists, which he called Operation Dignity, in 2014. In addition, the UAE launched airstrikes against militant groups in Libya around the same time as the arrests.
The UAE’s aggressive foreign policy in Libya lead to the unlawful arrest and arbitrary detainment of 10 Libyan businessmen in August 2014 soon after the NYT reported that the UAE and Egypt led a military operation in Libya that had failed and left civilians dead. It has been reported that the Libyan businessmen were detained as part of a UAE State Security intelligence campaign.
Four of the Libyan nationals were set free in December 2014, and the others were held incommunicado for several months and were not formally charged until nearly 18 months after their arrest.
The men were reportedly tortured and forced to sign false confessions during their detainment in a remote desert prison, an allegation the UAE has denied.
However, in March, UAE prosecutors suddenly dropped the charges that the men supported terrorist groups, and fabricated new lesser charges that they provided supplies to groups in a foreign country and collected donations without the permission of the UAE government.
All four of the men denied that they ever raised funds for any group in Libya. Rather they acknowledged that they raised funds for humanitarian supplies to aid Libya’s immediate post-revolution government, the National Transitional Council, and had documented approval from the UAE government before doing so.
The UAE Supreme Court judge reportedly delivered the “not guilty” verdict on Monday for the four men stating the evidence did not support the allegations. However, they were not immediately released from custody, instead they were taken back to prison after the trial due to procedural issues.
On Tuesday it was announced that Salim Alaradi was released from prison and could leave the country. However, when Alaradi tried to leave the UAE on Wednesday he was not allowed to board his flight because he was placed a travel ban. He is currently waiting at an airport in the UAE in hopes that the travel ban will soon be lifted so that he could leave the country as soon as possible.