UAE: the detainee Abduallah al-Shamsi diagnosed with COVID-19 at Al Wathba prison


This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, 2 June 2020

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights makes an urgent appeal on behalf of the mother of the detainee Abdullah Awad Salem Al Shamsi, who states that her son has tested positive for Covid-19 inside Al-Wathba Prison.  She seeks help from Omani authorities to release him and to allow her to check on him.

The ICJHR remains worried about the possible health deterioration of Al Shamsi, since he already suffers from other diseases and lives with one kidney. Besides, Emirati prisons are notorious for their inadequate or non-existent medical care and overcrowded detention conditions with poor sanitation, which place prisoners at extreme risk with no chance for social distancing. 

The UAE authorities didn’t disclose the truth about the number of Coronavirus sufferers inside their prisons, to cover up its shortcomings and the failure to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection among prisoners.

Al-Shamsi is an Omani citizen, born on September 27, 1998 and was attending high school in the United Arab Emirates before being arrested by the UAE State Security Service together with his uncle Ahmed Al Shamsi on August 18, 2018 at 11 a.m, for spying for the benefit of the State of Qatar.

Abdullah Al Shamsi was arrested without a warrant and subjected to enforced disappearance for more than six months; he was also prevented from contacting his family and lawyer who ignored his whereabouts. The Zakher Police Station in Al Ain City in Abu Dhabi registered him among the absentees and gave his family a certificate on September 14, 2018 confirming his absence.

Al Shamsi was tortured and abused in order to extract confessions from him and confirm his relations with the State of Qatar.

He was convicted on May 6, 2020 by the Federal Appeal Court in Abu Dhabi with a 25-year prison sentence without the presence of his family or counselor assistance and without investigating his exposure to torture. He was solely convicted on the basis on a false document published by the UAE newspaper Al-Bayan, in flagrant breach of fair trial guarantees guaranteed by International Charters.

 The UAE authorities forced Al Shamsi to film a video on January 7, 2020 wearing an Omani outfit, confirming his relations with the State of Qatar after threatening to arrest his brothers in case he refuses to do so, and they even promised to release him. The UAE used the video as a material in the dispute between them and the State of Qatar.

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

  • Immediately release detainee Abdullah Awad Salem Al Shamsi, and conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into his rights’ violations and for his infection with COVID-19. 
  • Grant him the right to redress, repair and rehabilitation.
  • Provide adequate medical care for the detainee Abdullah Awad Salem Al Shamsi and other detainees so they can recover from the disease, and publish all information about the real number of the prisoners affected by coronavirus.
  • Allow his family to visit or contact him remotely via phone or Internet. 

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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