By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 30 May 2016:
Four Libyans, two of whom have American dual nationality and one a dual Canadian-Libyan national, were acquitted today . . .[restrict]by a court in Abu Dhabi on charges of illegal fundraising, supposedly on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood
Kamal Eldarat and his son Mohamed, who moved to the UAE in 1997, were arrested in August 2014 with Canadian dual-national Sami Al-Aradi and and Issa Al-Manna. They were originally charged with supporting terrorist organisation. This was not specified but was unofficial said to be the Brotherhood.
The charge was dropped two months ago but the four were still accused of illegal fund raising for a foreign body, one that they continued to deny. They insisted that they had been gathering funds only for humanitarian reasons and that their efforts had been officially approved by the UAE authorities.
The case against them is widely believed have been brought by the Emiratis because the four supported the now vanished GNC regime represented latterly by Khalifa Ghwell – a regime to which the UAE was opposed.
There are claims from family members that the four were tortured while initially in detention, a claim denied by the UAE. Al-Aradi alleges he was beaten with hose-piping.
Even under the reduced charges – for illegal fundraising and sending humanitarian aid to Libya without the UAE’s approval – all four faced the prospect of 15 years in jail.
After the verdict was announced, the defendants were nonetheless returned to prison pending legal release procedures which could still take several weeks. This has fuelled further suspicions that fresh charges may be brought against them. [/restrict]