UAE: One year death anniversary of prisoner of conscience Alia Abdulnoor

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

 Geneva on May 4, 2020

 Today the 4th of May marks the first death anniversary of activist Alia Abdulnoor who passed away in al Tawam hospital in Al Ain Emirate in UAE, after she was denied medical release by the Public Prosecutor despite her condition. In fact, her health status has terribly deteriorated due to the spread of cancer throughout her body, following her arrest by the State Security Agency on July 29, 2015. She was exposed to enforced disappearance, torture and abuse; besides, the authorities didn’t immediately transfer her to the hospital, they left her suffering and refused to release her so that she can spend her last days with her family at home.    

Riddled with cancer, osteoporosis and liver fibrosis, she was denied medical care. 

 On January 10, 2019, she was transferred to the Hospital, without informing her family and without her consent. When they visited her on January 21, 2019, her relatives found her chained to her bed and placed under strict surveillance, in very poor health and hygiene conditions.

 Despite the multiple pleadings submitted by her family and the call of UN experts and civil society organization, Emirati officials have refused to release her on medical grounds and to allow her to die in peace. 

On Saturday, May 4, 2019, Alya Abdulnoor, still shackled to her bed, eventually died in custody.

Numerous international demands called for the investigation of the death circumstances of the late Alia Abdulnoor and her exposure to torture and ill-treatment in addition to her deprivation of adequate medical care, which was confirmed by both the spokesperson for the High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs. Ravenna Shamdazani and the spokesman for the European Union on May 7, 2019 who urged the UAE authorities to respect its obligations on combating torture and review the anti-terrorism law.

In last September 2019, the Secretary-General released his annual ‘Reprisals Report’, a public compilation of reported cases of intimidation and reprisals against those cooperating with the UN, in which he stated the numerous violations committed by the Emirati State Security and Prison Administration against the late Alia Abdulnoor and the deliberate neglect that led to her death. 

The ICJHR confirms that the UAE authorities are still denying the necessary medical care for the prisoners and continue to treat them humiliatingly in Al Wathba prison, which led detainees Amina Al Abduli and Maryam Al Balushi to go on hunger strikes because of the deliberate neglect of their health status. The ICJHR fears that both detainees will have the same fate as the late Alia Abdulnoor.

The ICJHR renews its demand for the UAE Government and Public Prosecutor to open a serious and impartial investigation into Alia’s Abdulnoor exposure to torture; ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and health neglect before her death, hold accountable the responsible and give her family the right to redress, remedy and rehabilitation.  

The ICJHR also calls upon the officials to bring to justice the Public Prosecutor for his shortcomings, intransigence and refusal to release Albdulnoor on medical grounds despite the deterioration of her condition and the existence of a legal text allowing to do so. 

Lastly, the center urges the UAE authorities to immediately release all prisoners of conscience and to make Emirati prisons and detention facilities compatible with relevant international standards including providing appropriate health care, releasing terminally ill prisoners and allowing UN rapporteurs and human rights organizations to visit and monitor the prisons and detention facilities.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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