UN human rights experts urged Bosnia to stop the extradition of Musaed Al Masailim to Kuwait, where he faces an 87-year prison sentence and “risks irreparable harm upon return.”
Al Masailim came to Sarajevo in 2017.
Before that, he was charged in 2015 with publicly disrespecting the Emir on social media. He was acquitted a year later but endured ill-treatment during his detention.
After he moved to Bosnia, Al Masailim was charged three more times and sentenced in absentia over his tweets.
“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,” the UN experts said.
Their statement stressed that “the principle of non-refoulment under the Convention Against Torture must be assessed 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.”
“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,” it said.
The appeal was sent by, among others, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe Gonzales and Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion, Irene Khan.
“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,” they said.
Bosnia’s State Court has not made a decision regarding the extradition request yet, Radio Free Europe reported.
“The court is obliged to wait for the outcome of the procedure for resolving the asylum request with the Ministry of Security of BiH, after which the conditions for the decision will be met,” the court said.