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meriem balouchi1

Geneva, 29th May 2018

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights has received a voice recording from prisoner Maryam Sulaiman al-Balushi that was leaked from jail on Saturday 19 May 2018, in which she speaks about her exposure to torture and humiliating treatment at Al-Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi.

Maryam said in her record that her condition had deteriorated since she “was draining blood because of malnutrition, lack of ventilation, ill-treatment by police officers and racism.” She also emphasized that any place the detainees ask to go, whether the library or the clinic, authorities allow them to do so only after a long struggle." Her mother also received a threat from the security service that the prosecution would raise a new case against her daughter after she leaked information on the suffering of female prisoners in a previous recording.

Maryam Sulaiman al-Balushi said in a previous recording that after her arrest, she was detained in the State Security for 5 months. She was interrogated for three months, tortured and beat on her head. She was threatened with rape and prevented access to women's supplies. She said that she was transferred to al-Wathba prison on 12 April 2016, where she was subjected to several violations that affected her dignity and humanity in flagrant breach of the provisions of Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on Regulating Penal Institutions.

She also mentioned in the recording that a police officer named Rukia Abdulrahman has deliberately abused her in addition to Major Matar Balochi who imprisoned her in solitary confinement and deprived her from seeing her mother who traveled long distances from Al-Kulba to Al-Wathba prison in order to see her daughter. He also prevented her from having any contact by telephone with her family in violation of the right to family visit, correspondence and address.

Besides, Maryam Balushi also reported about the spread of dirt, odors, insects and diseases inside Al-Wathba prison in addition to the overcrowding of the rooms. In fact, the room will be congested with 80 inmates, while it can only accommodate eight prisoners. Prisoners in Al-Wathba prison also lack healthy food, portable water, clean blankets and medical care, in addition to the extreme heat since the air conditioners are constantly shut down. Indeed, these poor conditions have led up to the spread of diabetes and blood pressure among the inmates, which pushed some of them to commit suicide and others to go into a hunger strike in protest against the degrading treatment.

The State Security Service arrested Mariam Sulaiman al-Balushi, a student in her final year of studies in the College of Technology in the city of Kulba, on suspicion of "financing terrorism" because of her donation to a Syrian family for 2,300 dirhams.

Indeed, the State Security Service later transferred her to a secret detention center where she stayed for five months and was subjected, when questioned, to torture by Nepalese guards. She was also subjected to beatings on the head, threats of rape and denial of women's supplies, which affected her left eye, caused her back pain and made her go into a hunger strike more than once, in protest against her exposure to torture and ill-treatment. However, nothing has changed as the Public Prosecution did not pay heed about her complaints concerning torture and she was further abused by the Public Prosecutor Ahmed al-Dhanhani who forced her to sign papers, claiming that she would not be sentenced to more than six months, in violation of the principle of integrity and honesty.

In addition, the State Security Service has deliberately threatened to arrest Mariam al-Balushi's mother and withdraw nationality from her and her children after she complained about her daughter's exposure to torture and ill-treatment.

Based on this testimony, the International Center for Human Rights and Justice calls on the authorities of the UAE to respect the principles of human rights in the context of combating terrorism under the provisions of the international agreements signed, to immediately release Maryam Sulaiman Al-Balush, and to conduct a prompt and serious investigation by an independent body concerning the torture and ill-treatment to which she was subject, as well as her exposure to enforced disappearance for months, and hold accountable all people involved in these violations and enable her right to reparation and rehabilitation.

 You can find Maryam's recording here : https://youtu.be/WThTwBVMG3A