Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in a letter to Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of United Arab Emirates expresses concern over the detention of Jordanian journalist Tayseer al-Najjar.
PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in his letter urged the government of UAE to investigate the case of Al-Najjar if he is responsible for any crime he should be given a fair trial or else he should be released immediately.
According to International Press Institute (IPI), Al-Najjar has been imprisoned without any allegations for almost eight and a half months. In December he was not allowed from flying to Jordan and then on December 13 he was arrested and not allowed to communicate with anyone and after two months his family learned about his detention.
He is indicted of spying for Qatar and also blamed for having connections with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a terrorist organization in the Emirates. Under the counter-terrorism law of UAE, these allegations could lead to punishment of life imprisonment or death sentence.
The officials also inquired him about a Facebook post that showed support for Gazan resistance and criticizing Egypt’s president, UAE and the Israeli military linked with Israeli events in Gaza and Egypt’s demolition of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai region. While the journalist has stated that the comments were shared in 2014, when he was living and working in Jordan.
Al-Najjar was at first detained in a state safety facility suspected of torturing foreign nationals. Then later he was moved to Al Wathba prison and there he was allowed to contact his wife. Al-Najjar told her wife that he had not been formally charged or permissible to meet with a lawyer, although his imprisonment was extended twice after meeting with investigators.