UAE: Activist Mahmoud Al Hosani still detained in Al-Razeen prison despite the end of his sentence on July 16, 2019

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, 1st September 2020 

On July 16, 2012, human rights activist Mahmoud Al Hosani was arrested by the State Security Services as part of the massive crackdown against the “UAE94” group, who were accused of conspiring against the ruling system, after calling for political reforms in the country and signing the reform petition. 

Al Hosani was the official spokesperson and public relations officer at Sharjah Transportation, founder of SMART MEDIA Company and a member of the Dubai Press Club. He also has different media works in the field of television, press, radio and Internet.

During his arrest, he was subjected to enforced disappearance in a secret detention facility and was not allowed to inform his family about his whereabouts or to contact his lawyer. He was tortured and abused and has lost half of his weight; he was tried with no fair trial guarantees and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

The UAE authorities are still refusing to release activist Mahmoud Al Hosani, despite the completion of his sentence since July 16, 2019, claiming that he represents a « terrorist threat”. He was consequently placed in a counseling center at Al-Razeen jail without due reason or any time limit and was even deprived from his right to appeal against the decision. 

 According to the law, the term “terrorist threat” can be used against any person, which facilitates the abuse of counseling centers to arrest human rights defenders, political activists and bloggers.

The ICJHR has previously confirmed that counseling centers are a form of arbitrary detention that Emirati authorities use as a pretext to continue the detention of prisoners of conscience and refrain from releasing them such as the case of Imran Al-Radwan and the two brothers, Abdullah and Fahd Abdul-Qadir Ahmed Ali Al-Hajri and Mansour Al-Ahmadi in addition to many others.

Some of the detainees were released from the counseling centers including Osama Al-Najjar, Badr Al-Bahri and Othman Al-Shehhi, after bargaining for their freedom. They were forced to make self-incriminating confessions on public television denying their exposure to torture, enforced disappearance and unfair trial.

The ICJHR remains concerned amidst the outbreak of COVID-19 inside Emirati jails especially since the officials are ignoring the gravity of the situation which requires reducing the number of detainees to avoid overcrowding so that prisons would not turn into epidemic hotspots.

The Center therefore renews its call to the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release activist Mahmoud Al Hosani and other prisoners of conscience, and to stop undermining their dignity and imprisoning them in counseling Centers. The ICJHR also urges Emirati government to open an impartial investigation by an independent committee to investigate al Hosani’s rights’ violations and to hold accountable the responsible.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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