(Beirut) – The son of an adviser to the former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsy has claimed that United Arab Emirates authorities subjected him to “brutal physical and psychological torture." The taped message by Mosaab Ahmed Abd el Aziz, 27, said Emirati authorities tortured him to get him to confess to membership in the Muslim Brotherhood.
“If I was asked to confess to coming from Mars to destroy earth, I would have, just to get it over with,” he said in a 90-second statement he delivered via a phone call to his family from Al Wathba prison in October 2015, where he is awaiting trial. Human Rights Watch has listened to the recording, in which Abd el Aziz spoke in English.
“Any country whose citizens earn their living in the UAE should express their great concern over these torture allegations,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “This is a country where the state security apparatus is accused over and over of torturing people to get confessions.”
Abd el Aziz has been detained since his arrest on October 21, 2014, on charges that he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He told his family that he had spent three months after his arrest in a state security facility that has been the subject of numerous credible allegations of detainee torture. Abd el Aziz’s sister, Yara, told Human Rights Watch that since his transfer to Al Wathba prison in early February 2015, he has been able to make telephone calls to his family every week or two. In a call to his family on February 10, 2016, Abd el Aziz told them that he had been taken to a meeting the previous day with a public prosecutor, who had presented what he said were evidence of Abd el Aziz’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood and told him that his trial would begin the week of February 20. Abd el Aziz told his family that that he has not spoken to a lawyer since his arrest.
Abd el Aziz had lived in the UAE for 20 years before his arrest and had been working for a mobile application development company. In the recording, he claims to have had no interest or involvement in politics, and attributes his arrest to the work of his father, Ahmed Abd el Aziz, with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He implies that the torture he endured, which he does not describe in any detail, has left him with what he says is “permanent damage” to his ears.
On January 7, 2015, Ahmed Abd el Aziz posted a video to YouTube in which he called on the UAE authorities to release his son, alleging that he had been “kidnapped by United Arab Emirates’ security forces” because of the father’s position as a member of Morsy’s staff. Morsy was ousted as Egyptian president in July 2013.