Jailed US architect freed

American architect Dr Robert Black is awaiting release from an Abu Dhabi prison after being found not guilty of taking photographs in a restricted area.

The 70-year-old appeared before a judge yesterday (Monday) according to a friend speaking on his family’s behalf.

Black, who had been speaking at a conference, was arrested and detailed in Al Wathba jail while out on a morning sightseeing walk, said Rosemary Rein, a colleague who has spoken on behalf of the family.

Friends and members of Black’s family only learned of his arrest when he failed to arrive at his next scheduled event in Malaysia. Concerned about his health — Black is diabetic and also suffers from high blood pressure — Rein and others rallied support online to secure his release

”It is a happy Monday” said a statement from the family. “We’re relieved and happy with the news…We’re grateful to the court for its wisdom and compassion.”
“He went to court, and it was a favorable directive from the judge,” Rein said Monday on behalf of Black’s family. “His character and his volunteerism were taken into consideration.”

She said Black’s attorney is still working to translate the court documents, but he could be released today and on his way to reuniting with his family.

A Facebook page, “Free Dr. Robert Alan Black,” was made to keep Black’s friends updated on his situation, and a petition at www.change.org to ask U.S. officials to secure his release obtained over 3,700 signatures.