Hard winter for inmates held at the “Guantanamo of the UAE”

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

image source: exposeduae.com

Geneva, on February 6, 2020


Information about the detention conditions in Emirati prisons continue to raise serious concerns among the civil society. Claims of ill-treatment and appalling detention conditions have been systematic for years. If the harsh detention conditions and the ill-treatment in jail are generalised, the situation at Al-Razeen prison particularly stands out. Its poor reputation earned it the nickname of the “Guantanamo of the UAE”.


This prison, reserved for prisoners of conscience, is located in the middle of the desert, at about 120 km away from Abu Dhabi, making it very difficult for families to reach the facility. Families come all from different cities and emirates and easily spend half a day on their way to Al-Razeen.

After spending hours on the road and waiting for a few more hours outside the prison, they still can’t be certain that visits will be allowed. They are left waiting for hours before entering for the visit, or they are sometimes told in the end that the visit would not be allowed this time. Arbitrary deprivation of visits remain common and can last from a few weeks to several months, going up to a year sometimes. Dr Mohamed Al-Mansouri has lately been allowed to contact his family after over a year of deprivation of family visits and phone calls.

Recently, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) has also learned that inmates at Al-Razeen are denied blankets and warm clothing during winter. In the desert, the weather can reach extreme temperatures. Winter nights are extremely cold but detainees are denied the necessary clothing for such weather. Inmates are not even allowed to receive clothes brought by their families.

Furthermore, many detainees at Al-Razeen have complained about their state of health. ICJHR is concerned that a prolonged exposition to extreme cold worsens their already existing health conditions.

Exposing detainees to extreme temperatures without providing adequate clothing falls clearly under the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments. The UAE is about to be reviewed by the Committee against Torture in April 2020 and does not seem to care much about the implementation of the Convention against torture it ratified in 2012.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights calls on the United Arab Emirates to immediately, and without delay, put an end to such treatments and grant that the detention conditions at Al-Razeen are in meet the requirements of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

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

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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