UN Experts Urge the United Arab Emirates to Immediately Release Alya Abdulnoor

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, on February 27, 2019

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) welcomes the press release issued on February 26, 2019 by UN Experts calling for the immediate release of Alya Abdulnoor. This statement was jointly issued by the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

The Special Rapporteurs demanded the release of prisoner Alya Abdulnoor so that she can spend her last days with her family, especially after cancer had spread throughout her body. They also called for an impartial investigation into the allegations of torture, ill-treatment and other serious violations of Alya’s rights pursuant to the provisions of the Convention against Torture.

The experts expressed their concern about the allegations about Alya Abdulnoor’s exposure to enforced disappearance and torture, as previously stated by the ICJHR, and reminded that such treatments constitute a serious violation to international human rights law. In fact, the ICJHR and MENA Rights Group submitted an urgent appeal to UN Special Procedures in December 2018 regarding Alya Abdulnour’s case. Ms Abdulnoor was arrested in 2015 without a warrant and in total violation of her fundamental rights. She was taken to a secret detention centre and then held incommunicado for six months and prevented from contacting her family or a lawyer.

The victim was detained in very poor condition in an extremely narrow cell with no furniture, windows or ventilation, under continuous camera surveillance. She was tortured, stripped of her clothes, humiliated and threatened to sign confessions under duress without being allowed to read them.

All these violations have seriously affected her health condition in addition to the spread of cancer to her entire body. Alya’s status of health have extremely worsened and she is currently unable to stand or walk by herself. In November 2016, she was transferred to Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi, where she was kept in solitary confinement without proper medical treatment.

On January 10, 2019, the authorities forcibly transferred her to Tawam Hospital in Al Ain city in UAE without informing her family and without her consent. Her family visited her on January 21, 2019 and found her shackled to the bed, under heavy guard and without basic hygiene care.

The UAE authorities have deliberately violated the right of Alya Abdulnoor to fair trial after she was sentenced by the State Security Court to 10 years imprisonment under the anti-terrorism law for the financial help she provided to Syrian families. The verdict was confirmed on May 15, 2017.

Alya Abdulnoor was also deprived of her right to legal counsel. In fact, the lawyer initially appointed to defend her, was threatened and intimidated to abandon the case, in violation of fair trial guarantees.

In view of the above, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights joins the demands of UN special rapporteurs and calls upon the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:

  • Release Alya Abdulnoor without delay and allow her to spend her remaining days with her family,
  • Conduct a prompt investigation into the allegations of torture and enforced disappearance and all human rights violations perpetrated in this case and prosecute all those responsible for these violations.

For more information, please contact us at info@ic4jhr.org.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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