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UN HRC Call on Bosnia

Suton, Sarajevo ... (WPP photo archive)

Suton, Sarajevo … (WPP photo archive)

WebPublicaPress (UNITED NATIONS) New York/Geneva -  UN human rights experts urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to halt the extradition of Musaed Al Masailim to Kuwait, where he faces 87 years’ imprisonment and risks irreparable harm upon return, UN Human Rights Council (HRC) warned in a statement that was sent to UN journalists.

“We urge authorities to safeguard the rights of Mr. Al Masailim and not to expel, return or extradite him to a country where he is in danger of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as arbitrary detention,” they said in a written statement received by WeebPublicaPress (WPP) in New York.

And it is important to stress the UN Special Rapporteurs are independent experts and working groups of the UN Human Rights Council. These experts deal with fact-finding and monitoring often in specific situations in a specific country or on thematic issues in all parts of the world. These experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

According to the same statement, Al Masailim was first arrested in Kuwait in 2015 and charged with publicly disrespecting the Emir through tweets. He was acquitted on those charges in 2016 but faced ill-treatment while in detention. Since relocating to Sarajevo in 2017, he has been charged on three separate occasions for his tweets and was sentenced in absentia.

“We are alarmed that he was sentenced without being given an opportunity to defend himself against the charges. We are seriously concerned that on his return, he would not be afforded due process rights including a guarantee of a fair trial.”

UN HRC said that following an extradition request issued by Kuwait in April 2020, in connection with allegations of defaming and insulting the Emir and the judiciary, Al Masailim has been under house arrest in Sarajevo pending investigation and an extradition hearing ruling.

A public session of the Court of Sarajevo was held on 5 February 2021 but the judge did not announce a ruling.

“The principle of non-refoulement under the Convention Against Torture must be assessed

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. (UN photo for education only)

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. (UN photo for education only)

independently of refugee or asylum status determinations, so as to ensure that the fundamental right to be free from torture or other ill-treatment is respected in all circumstances and regardless of questions of status,” the experts said.

“We call on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to suspend the process of extradition, and immediately undertake a detailed and individualised risk assessment with a view to ensuring the full respect of its obligation under international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.”

WPP couldn’t reach Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina for a initial reaction to this appeal.

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