UAE authorities refuse to release prisoner of conscience Fahd Abdul Qadir Al-Hajri

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, March 16th, 2020

Prisoner of conscience Fahd Abdul Qadir Al-Hajri was arrested on March 2, 2013 and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. His term has finished this year on March 2, 2020 and he should have been consequently released; yet, he is still in custody.

The ICJHR has expressed its concern in previous statements, fearing that Al Hajri won’t be released despite the completion of his sentence and will be arbitrarily put in a counseling center, like what happened with other detainees.

Activist Fahd Abdul Qadir Al-Hajri was arrested along with his brother Abdullah Al-Hajri in the well-known case of the UAE94 on March 2, 2013. The State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court sentenced him on July 3, 2013 to 10 years’ imprisonment and 3 years of administrative control.

Indeed, several activists remain behind bars for “counseling” beyond completion of their past sentences including Abdullah Al-Hajri, Amran Al-Radwan, Mahmoud Al-Hosani, Mansour Al-Ahmadi, Abdullah Al-Helou, Ahmed Al-Mulla, Saeed Al-Buraimi, Abdul Wahid Al-Badi and Khalifa Al-Rabaie.

The UAE authorities have released prisoners of conscience Osama al-Najjar, Badr Al-Bahri and Othman Al-Shehhi only after forcing them to support the Government’s policies and deny their exposure to any human rights violations and make them plead for forgiveness and repentance. 

The ICJHR highly condemns the continued detention of activists in al Razeen counseling center despite completing their sentences, and considers it as a form of arbitrary detention, especially since Emirati government fails to provide the detainees with effective judicial and administrative grievances against the decisions to deposit them in counseling centers. They didn’t also set a time limit for their continued detention or present a clear legal basis for keeping the defendants beyond completion of their past sentences on the pretext of “posing a terrorist threat”, which facilitates the arbitrary use of counseling centers to arrest human rights defenders, political activists and bloggers.

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

  1.  Immediately and unconditionally release activist Fahd Abdul Qadir Al-Hajri after the end of his sentence on March 2, 2020.
  2.  Refrain from depositing human rights activists, bloggers, and political opponents in counseling centers and release the others who are put against their will, in violation of their personal freedom, security and right not to be subjected to arbitrary detention.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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