UAE Professor Nasser bin Ghaith Languishing in Prison

Updated June 25, 2020

Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) joins other human rights organizations in calling on the Emirati government, amid the global threat posed by COVID-19, to release the Emirati Professor and economist Nasser bin Ghaith. Though UAE released a number of prisoners in early March 2020, imprisoned scholars and students—many of whom are older and suffer from underlying medical conditions—were excluded from the decrees. We urge the Emirati Government to release Nasser bin Ghaith amid heightened risk of contracting the virus.

Reports suggest that Emirati professor and economist Nasser bin Ghaith’s health is severely deteriorating as he continues his hunger strike, which has lasted over 90 days. He has, for example, lost over 20 kilograms (~45 pounds) and is now only able to walk with the assistance of others. The economist, who taught at the Abu Dhabi branch of Paris-Sorbonne University, is serving a 10-year sentence handed down in March 2017 for tweets critical of UAE authorities. During his trial, the Emirati authorities restricted his access to his lawyer, and he was unable to prepare a proper defense. Bin Ghaith is being held at the al-Razeen maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi, which is home to a number of Emirati dissidents and where he claims to have experienced torture at the hands of Emirati officials.