UAE acquits two Libyan-Americans and Canadian of militancy charges

DUBAI (Reuters) - A security court in the United Arab Emirates on Monday acquitted two Libyan-American businessmen and a Libyan-Canadian charged with supporting Libyan militants, a lawyer and a family representative said.

“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Abu Dhabi Supreme Court State Security Chamber found American businessmen Kamal and Mohamed Eldarat not guilty, after nearly two years of arbitrary detainment and a four-month trial,” a statement from the Eldarat family said.

Kamal and son Mohamed were arrested at their home in the UAE in 2014, according to the family.

Paul Champ, a human rights lawyer representing Canadian co-defendant Salim Alaradi - who was arrested while visiting the UAE - said that although the three men had been acquitted, they had yet to be released from custody.

Alaradi “was apprehended back in August 2014, held in a secret prison and the state security didn’t even acknowledge they were holding them for months, so we won’t be comfortable until he’s on a plane back home,” Champ told Reuters by phone from Canada.

There was no immediate comment from the UAE on the case.

The U.N. special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, said in February he had received credible information that the men had been tortured in custody, an allegation the UAE denies.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Friday the case had been raised with UAE officials by the U.S. ambassador, and a Canadian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Canada had expressed similar concerns.

The UAE and Egypt carried out air strikes against Islamist forces in Libya in 2014.

Brooking no tolerance of Islamists at home and working to resist their strength abroad, the UAE considers itself a bastion of stability in a region beset by religiously-tinged conflict.

Reporting by Noah Browning; editing by Andrew Roche