Solidarity with prisoners of conscience in the United Arab Emirates and for their release

Petition: freedom to all prisoners of conscience in the UAE

Authorities of the United Arab Emirates are detaining  many Emiratis and non-Emiratis citizens (nearly 200 prisoners of conscience, see list attached) in secret and public locations including lawyers, university professors,  judges, politicians, economists and activists  who are convicted because of their endless advocacy and defense of fundamental rights and freedoms and their initiative to disclose violations and to call for political reforms in the UAE, a fact that was  seen by Emirati government as harming  to UAE reputation and status and promoting false news about its leaders and policies as well as  provoking sedition, hatred and racism and damaging national unity and social peace.  

These violations committed by Emirati authorities have also affected prisoners of conscience who were deprived of their freedom and their right to have a fair trial. Indeed, the detainees were kept in secret prisons such as Al Rezin and Al Wathba in which they were exposed to torture and ill-treatment in addition to the fact that they were held in unknown locations and were prevented from meeting their lawyers and families and getting health care.

It is known that the group of the “UAE94” were ruthlessly tortured and abused inside the detention centers and were suffering from several diseases as a result of ill-treatment  and inhuman conditions of imprisonment, especially with the intensification of the heat in the summer and the lack of ventilation and the necessary facilities that preserve the prisoners’ dignity.

Moreover, the UAE authorities have deliberately delayed bringing some of the prisoners of conscience before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court which is an exceptional judiciary where judgments are final with no appeal and don’t provide fair trial guarantees. In fact, judgments in the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court are based on arbitrary laws, such as cybercrime laws and anti-terrorism laws in clear breach of the persons’ right to obtain, without delay, a fair and public trial and in flagrant violation of the provisions of the UAE constitution and international related charters.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the European Parliament and other International and Arab Human Rights organizations have also spotted all sorts of gross violations of human rights committed by the authorities of the United Arab Emirates and the State Security apparatus, which affected the prisoners of conscience and political dissidents.

Therefore, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights in Geneva calls on personalities, associations, organizations and all UN and Regional Human Rights mechanisms for greater solidarity with prisoners of conscience and human rights activists in the United Arab Emirates and urges them to sign this petition in which the UAE government is demanded to: 

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience and human rights activists and reformers who are unjustly detained in secret locations in Emirati prisons, including Al Rezin and Al Wathba prisons.
  2. Abolish all the arbitrary decisions taken by the UAE government against human rights activists and their families such as revoking their citizenship and  preventing some of them from travelling and working.
  3. Establish an independent, fair and impartial judiciary, invalidate the work of the State Security Chamber and provide fair trial guarantees for the detainees, including the right to have a counsel, the presumption of innocence, the exclusion of confessions extracted under torture and other ill- treatment and litigation at two degrees.
  4. Open a quick and serious investigation by an independent body regarding the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and other violations and hold accountable all the responsible for these violations and enable the victims of their right to redress and repair  the damage done to them and their families and work on their rehabilitation.
  5. Refrain from arresting dissidents and human rights activists and keeping them in secret places of detention in solitary confinement and preventing them from communicating with the outside world in clear violation of international human rights principles that guarantee liberty and security.
  6. Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and other international human rights organizations to visit detention centers and attend the trials of prisoners of conscience in the United Arab Emirates.
  7. Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols, the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

To sign the petition, please send your name or the name of your organization on the following e-mail:

* It’s worth noting that this petition will be deposited to the UN special rapporteurs on torture, on human rights defenders and the independence of judiciary and the European Parliament.

Prisoners of consciences

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