UAE: prisoners of conscience Ahmed Muhammad al-Mulla and Abdullah al-Helou still detained three years after the end of their sentences

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva on May 18, 2020

The UAE authorities are still refusing to release activists, Ahmed Mohamed Al-Mulla and Abdullah Al-Helou, who have finished their prison terms consecutively on May 1, 2017 and April 22, 2017. They  have been kept in Al-Razeen counseling center for “reform and guidance” for more than three years. 

The ICJHR has been following the situation of al-Mulla and al-Helou since their arrest, in cooperation with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. In fact, Abdullah Al-Helou was arrested on the same day April 22, 2014 as Badr Al-Bahri, by Al Qusais Security officers, who transferred them to Abu Dhabi for unknown reasons, after searching their homes and frightening their children. Likewise, Ahmad Muhammad Al-Mulla, was also arrested on May 1, 2014 by the State Security officers in Dubai who handcuffed him in front of his wife, children, and relatives, and took him to an unknown location, without informing his family about the reasons for his arrest.

Ahmed Al-Mulla, Badr Al-Bahri, Abdullah Al-Helou and Faisal Al-Shehhi were each sentenced to three years imprisonment on 13 June 2016 for joining Al-Islah association and collecting donations and funds without obtaining prior permission from the UAE authorities. The convicts spent two years of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention.

In August 2019, the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, granted Badr al Bahri a presidential pardon after he was forced to make public statements to announce his repentance for his past actions and disavow his commitment to al Islah association. While the authorities continued to detain Abdullah al-Helou and Ahmad Muhammad al-Mulla without due reason, only for their refusal to submit to the blackmail and intimidation. 

The ICJHR therefore considers the continued detention of Ahmad Muhammad Al-Mulla and Abdullah Al-Helou despite the completion of their sentence, a form of arbitrary detention contrary to the requirements of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which state that ” No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”.

The ICJHR  also calls upon  the UAE authorities to immediately release Abdullah Al-Helou, Ahmed Al-Mulla and other prisoners of conscience, stop imprisoning them in counseling centers and promptly amend the anti-terrorism law to make it compatible with international standards on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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