[from the files] ‘Two arrested for assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh are living freely in the UAE’

Hamas soldiers attend a memorial for assassinated commander, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in February 2010 (file photo)

Middle East Monitor  /  June 16, 2017

The defendants were not given a fair and open trial after they were extradited from Jordan.

  • The UAE authorities did not inform Al-Mabhouh’s family of progress of the interrogation of the two suspects.
  • Al-Mabhouh’s personal belongings seized after the assassination have still not been given to his family.
  • The authorities missed the chance to have a suspect involved in the assassination handed over by Poland and Germany.

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR) has revealed that at least two members of the group who killed Palestinian Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai’s Al-Bustan Hotel on 19 January 2010 are living freely in the UAE. Neither has been tried on charges of providing logistical support to the group that carried out the assassination. The AOHR added that “AS”, an officer in the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Service and “AH”, an officer in the Palestinian Intelligence Services fled from Dubai to Jordan after the assassination as there was evidence that proved their involvement in the killing.

According to the rights organisation, a CCTV recording from the arrivals hall at Dubai International Airport showed one of the Mossad agents involved in the assassination meeting AH. It later emerged that, according to the evidence, AS and AH had provided logistical support and introduced the group that killed Al-Mabhouh to the victim.

The organisation has confirmed that, based on the evidence available to Dubai police, the two men were involved in the assassination and that they work for a real estate company owned by a controversial Palestinian figure. The company filed a request to the Jordanian government to have the two men returned, and they were handed over to the UAE authorities three weeks after the assassination.

The judicial authorities in Dubai did not give the defendants a fair and open trial, claimed the AOHR, revealing their real role in the assassination. It said that the trial was held in secret and that the defendants were later confirmed to be living freely in the UAE.

In a complaint submitted to the AOHR, Al-Mabhouh’s family said that the way that the UAE authorities, particularly the security forces, handled the issue “is very suspicious because they did not inform us of the investigation of those who were arrested and did not ask us to attend any court hearings, which is what usually happens in such cases.” To this day, added the family, they have not been given the victim’s personal belongings.

“When Mahmoud’s son travelled to the UAE to receive his father’s body, he was interrogated as if by an Israeli intelligence officer,” continued the family statement. “They did not ask any questions that could lead to the arrest of those involved in the assassination. All they cared about was knowing about Mahmoud’s contacts in the UAE.”

The family asserted their belief that “the recordings of the assassination broadcast by Dubai Police Chief Dhahi Khalfan resemble a movie designed to absolve the authorities and deny rumours regarding the UAE’s involvement in the assassination. These recordings were broadcast in several places and people were sitting in front of the television every day, eager to see the latest revelations. Then the case was buried and the UAE authorities did not take any serious action to arrest the accused or bring those who were arrested to justice. This is what is suspicious about their behaviour.”

The AOHR suggested that that the UAE authorities have been negligent in this case. One of those accused in the assassination, named as “Brodsky”, was arrested in Poland on 4 June 2010 and Germany requested his extradition. Throughout the procedures, which lasted two months, the UAE did not take any action or submit a request for extradition.

After Brodsky’s extradition to Germany on 11 August 2010, the UAE authorities took no action until a judge in Cologne released Brodsky on bail on 13 August, according to the spokesman of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Rainer Wolf. “The arrest warrant was suspended after an agreement was reached between the court and the Prosecutor’s Office,” explained Wolf. He confirmed that Brodsky could have returned to Israel.

The AOHR said that Brodsky vanished into thin air and the UAE authorities wasted a golden opportunity to arrest a defendant in a serious crime case. The organisation believes that this was a strange response on the part of the UAE, given that it did act and put pressure on the Indonesian government to hand over the Emirati dissident Abdul Rahman Khalifa Bin Subaih al-Suwaidi, and sent a private jet to take immediate physical custody of him. The UAE later sentenced him to ten years in prison.

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK called on the UAE authorities to respect the rights of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s family and to provide them with details of the investigation into those arrested, as part of their legal obligations in the fight against organised and dangerous crime. The organisation also called for the authorities to hand over all of the victim’s personal belongings seized after the assassination.