UAE: 9 years after they signed a petition for political reform, the “UAE 94″group remain in jail


This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, March 3, 2020

Today, March 3, 2020, marks the ninth anniversary of the reform petition signed in 2011 by more than 130 individuals, including human rights activists, academics, former government officials, writers and others, signed a petition calling for democratic reform in the United Arab Emirates. The petition, submitted to President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, called for free and democratic elections of all the members of the Federal National Council. The petition urged the government to empower the parliament with full legislative authority.

The Emirati authorities in an unprecedented clampdown on peaceful dissent, arresting dozens of persons all over the country. The State Security targeted the signatories of the petition following the same modus operandi over and over again.

Dozens were arrested all over the country and detained incommunicado under torture for months without being brought before a judge. 94 individuals were tried in a grossly unfair trial, commonly known as the UAE 94 trial, and 69 of them were sentenced to prison terms ranging between 7 and 15 years.

The victims have been held at Al-Razeen prison in very harsh conditions ever since. Systematically subjected to arbitrary measures, the prisoners of conscience are denied family visits, placed in solitary confinement in flagrant breach of the international standards on the treatment of prisoners.

In November 2013, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion recognizing the arbitrary nature of the detention of 61 of the defendants and urging the UAE to release them without delay.

Despite this opinion and the call of other UN institutions, the United Arab Emirates have refused to address their human rights record and comply with international human rights law.

In view of the above, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) calls upon the Emirati government to:

Immediately and unconditionally release the UAE 94 group and other prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders.
Open an impartial and independent investigation into the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, and arbitrary detention.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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