Open letter to UAE government and rulers on the seventh anniversary of the UAE94 mass trial

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Geneva, 02 July 2020 

Seven years have passed since the UAE94 unfair trial against the elite of the country. The list of defendants includes prominent figures such as Dr. Mohamed Al-Roken, an academic and award-winning human rights defender Dr. and lawyer Mohamed Al-Mansoori, Judge Mohammed Saeed Al Abdooli, Sheikh Dr. Sultan Kayed Muhammad Al Qasimi, a prominent member of the ruling family in Ras Al Khaimah, Mr. Khaled Al Nuaimi, Professor Hussain Ali Al Najjar Al Hammadi and former blogger and professor Saleh Muhammad Al Dhafiri  and Mansour Al Ahmadi, who is a representative of the Youth for al Quds organozation in addition to other signatories of the 2011 reform petition demanding direct, free and transparent elections of all members of the Federal National Council and a full legislative and supervisory authority.

All of them were sentenced on July 2nd, 2013, by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court to prison terms ranging from 7 to 15 years after being charged with plotting to overthrow the government and threatening the State’s security.

The UAE94 defendants were kept in secret detention centers where they were exposed to different kinds of abuse and ill-treatment including beatings, electrocution, hanging, chaining and sleep deprivation which affected their dignity and sanctity. Confessions were extracted under threat and torture in flagrant breach of the requirements of the Convention against Torture to which the UAE joined in 2012.

In fact, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued its Opinion No. 60/2013 confirming that the arrest of  61 individuals within the `UAE94` case is arbitrary. It also stated that the UAE government “has a duty to release the detainees” and “provide them with adequate reparation”.

The trial was headed by Judge Falah Al-Hajri who kept it rapid and hasty without fair trial guarantees including private consult of a lawyer, taking the time to view the file for self-defense, respond to the allegations of the public prosecution and the security officials. The hearing wasn’t public and the confessions obtained by torture and other forms of Abuse were not excluded.

A significant number of the UAE94 detainees were also arbitrarily  stripped out of their nationality and citizenship including: Dr. Ali Hussein Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shaheen Abdullah Al-Husani, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabiri, Professor Hassan Mneef Al-Jabiri, Professor Ibrahim Hassan Marzouki, Ahmed Ghaith Al Suwaidi, Professor Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al Siddiq and Professor Abdul Salam Al-Darwish. Consequently, the authorities started to amend the Federal Law No. 16 of 2017 regarding nationality and passports to make the decrees on the withdrawal of nationality not subject to any form of appeal.

The convicted were placed in overcrowded prisons, such as Al Razin, Al Wathba and Al Sadr Prisons, in very narrow and dark cells where the dirt and diseases are widespread among the prisoners. They have been subject to a series of persecutions: systematic searches without any respect for their decency and dignity, solitary confinement in inhumane conditions and health neglect without due reason.

Some of them remain behind bars despite the completion of their sentences; they are arbitrarily kept in al Razeen counseling center under the pretext of guidance and reform, pursuant to the Federal Law number 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorism. The authorities didn’t provide a clear program of rehabilitation or set a maximum time limit for their stay in counseling centers without granting them the right to appeal against this decision.

Among them are Imran Ali Hassan Al-Radwan Al-Harthi, Mahmoud Hassan Mahmoud Ahmed Al-Hosni, Abdullah Abdul Qader Ahmed Ali Al-Hajri and Mansour Hassan Ahmed Al-Ahmadi and Fahd Abdul-Qadir Ahmed Ali Al-Hajri.

Likewise, the UAE authorities did not release human rights activists, bloggers, and political opponents after the emergence of coronavirus cases among the prisoners, which requires reducing the number of detainees and relieving overcrowding so that prisons will not turn into epidemic hotspots.      

Several family members said they hadn’t been able to communicate with their imprisoned relatives for weeks which increased their concerns about the possible infection of COVID-19. They added that some prisoners have been denied adequate medical care and that authorities are not providing information to prisoners and their families about the apparent outbreaks or precautionary measures, in breach of the detainees ’right to health and life.

Noting that the UAE has no right to prevent the detainees from having family visits, since it can be carried out through glass, thus maintain distance. They could have taken a number of preventive precautions, such as reducing the number of visitors or allowing remote communication via phone or Internet, which was not the case, contrary to the Federal Law on Regulating Penal Institutions and the Set of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

Families of the detainees were also neglected by the authorities whenever they asked about the whereabouts of their sons and were subjected to many rights’ violations including the right to travel and the right to get a job; the freezing of bank accounts and prevention from the renewal of their official papers while others were prohibited from completing their studies and travelling abroad to get a medical care such as the case of prisoner of conscience Abdul Salam Darwish and his family.

In a report issued on October 30, 2015, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its concern about the rights of the children of human rights activists detained within the UAE94 group, especially after they were subjected to violations of their right to education, identity documents, freedom of movement and family visits.

Seven years later, the human rights situation is still alarming in the UAE and nothing has changed.  The ICJHR remains concerned about the unknown fate of the UAE94 detainees and therefore renews its call for the UAE rulers to immediately release all prisoners of conscience, open an impartial investigation into their rights’ violation, hold accountable the responsible before a fair judiciary and give the victims the right to a remedy, redress and reparation.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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