A security court in the United Arab Emirates yesterday acquitted two Libyan-American businessmen and a Libyan-Canadian charged with supporting Libyan militants, a lawyer and a family representative said.
“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Abu Dhabi Supreme Court State Security Chamber found American businessmen Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat not guilty, after nearly two years of arbitrary detainment and a four-month trial,” a statement from the Eldarat family said.
Kamal and son Mohamed were arrested at their home in the UAE in 2014, according to the family.
Paul Champ, a human rights lawyer representing Canadian co-defendant Salim Alaradi - who was arrested while visiting the UAE - said that although the three men had been acquitted, they had yet to be released from custody.
Alaradi “was apprehended back in August 2014, held in a secret prison and the state security didn’t even acknowledge they were holding them for months, so we won’t be comfortable until he’s on a plane back home”, Champ told Reuters by phone from Canada.
They were initially charged with terrorism-related offences, but the prosecutor in March changed the charges to providing support to Libyan militants and collecting donations without state permission.
The UAE official news agency WAM said the court had acquitted all the defendants in the case, without naming them.
Authorities had begun procedures to release them, WAM said, citing a Justice Ministry official.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Stephane Dion said Canada welcomed the acquittal and expected an “expedited process to promptly reunite him with his family and friends”.
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