UAE: Two years have passed since the arrest of activist Khalifa Rabia after serving his sentence on July 23, 2018

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, 9 September 2020

The UAE authorities are refusing to release activist and blogger Khalifa Rabia who continue to be arbitrarily detained in Al-Razeen prison after serving his prison term since July 23, 2018.

The UAE State Security Apparatus arrested him on July 23, 2013 for defending the victims of human rights violations and the “UAE94” group on Twitter and calling them the “Free Voice of UAE.”

Activist Khalifa Rabia was subjected to enforced disappearance and prevented from having any family or lawyer visits; he was tortured, abused and deprived of fair trial guarantees. On March 10, 2014, the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of half a million dirhams, claiming that his tweets are inciting to hatred and disturbing the State security, on the basis of the Cyber-Crimes Law.

Emirati authorities allegedly stated that Khalifa Rabia represents a terrorist threat and shall be consequently put in a counseling center for guidance and reform rather than being released, pursuant to Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorist Crimes.

The ICJHR confirms that convicting blogger Khalifa Rabia and considering him as “terrorist” because of his ideas and defense of human rights and public freedoms, proves the UAE’s deliberate abuse of counseling centers to arbitrarily detain activists and bloggers.

The Federal Law number 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorism did not provide a clear program of rehabilitation or set a maximum time limit for those detained in counseling centers without granting them the right to appeal against this decision.

The center asked the authorities to stop obliging activists to deny their exposure to any violation in exchange for their freedom and the forgiveness of the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In view of the above, the ICJHR therefore urges Emirati government to immediately and unconditionally release activist Khalifa Rabia after the completion of his sentence since 2018. 

The center also urges the authorities to stop detaining prisoners of conscience in counseling centers and to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the rights’ violations of the prisoners, give them the right to remedy, reparation and rehabilitation and hold accountable the responsible.

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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