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UN calls on U.A.E. to release Canadian man detained for year and a half

Last Updated Feb 15, 2016 at 11:00 am EST

Salim Alaradi is a Libyan-born Canadian citizen being detained in U.A.E on terrorist-related charges. Photo via freesalimalardi.com

U.N. human rights experts are calling on the United Arab Emirates to release a Canadian man and four others who they allege have been tortured while being detained over the last year and a half.

The call comes as Salim Alaradi’s case proceeds at the U.A.E. Federal Supreme Court, where the Canadian businessman of Libyan origin has pleaded not guilty to three terror-related charges.

In a public statement issued Monday, U.N. experts say they have “credible information” indicating Alaradi and other detainees were tortured and forced to sign confessions.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez, says the detainees have also been allegedly held in secret detention locations and in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time.

The U.N. experts say a reply from Emirati authorities about the detainees cases was “unpersuasive.”

Alaradi’s case was in court in the U.A.E. on Monday, where his family says a judge agreed to allow a forensic medical exam for the 46-year-old before adjourning proceedings to Feb. 29.

Alaradi learned only last month that he was charged with funding terrorist organizations, supporting terrorist organizations, and co-operating with terrorist organizations.

His Canadian lawyer has said that two specific groups — the February 17 Brigades and the Libyan Dawn — were named in connection with his charges.

Alaradi’s family and lawyers had previously received no explanation from U.A.E. authorities for his continued detention.

Alaradi was running a business in Dubai when he was abruptly arrested in August 2014.

He was born in Libya and immigrated to Canada from the U.A.E. in 1998, settling down in Vancouver with his family. He decided to return to the U.A.E. in 2007 to run a home appliance business with his brother.

He and his family were on vacation within the U.A.E. when he was arrested.

Alaradi’s lawyer has noted that Alaradi has not lived in Libya in over 25 years and “is not politically involved in his former country.”