UAE: Release all those unjustly imprisoned before COP28

UAE: Release all those unjustly imprisoned before COP28

UAE: Release all those unjustly imprisoned before COP28. Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should release all those unjustly imprisoned in the country before the start of COP28. It will be held at Expo City Dubai between November 30 and December 12, 2023. UAE authorities continue to detain dozens of people who completed their prison sentences some years ago. This includes 55 dissidents, lawyers, and other people convicted in a mass trial known as the “UAE94” case.

The UAE also continues to detain prominent human rights defenders, including Ahmed Mansoor and Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith. And to retaliate against people, including Amina Al-Abdouli and Maryam Al-Balushi, for speaking out about abuses in prison.

The authorities should also put an end to other human rights violations. This includes monitoring government critics with sophisticated surveillance technology to stifle dissent. The use of repressive laws to imprison human rights defenders and dissidents. Effectively denying the right to freedom of peaceful assembly through draconian legal restrictions and practices. And also denying migrant workers, who suffer a range of violations linked to the abusive kafala system, the right to form unions.

Detaining people long after they have served their sentences

There are at least 58 people being held past the end of their sentences in the UAE. (See detailed list in the appendix below.)

The authorities appear to have used Article 40 of Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorism Offences. This includes a vague and overbroad definition of terrorism to indefinitely detain people who have completed their sentences.

In its first paragraph, Article 40 states: “A terrorist danger exists in a person if he has adopted extremist or terrorist thinking. Such that it is feared that he will commit a terrorist crime.” The second paragraph states: “If a terrorist danger is present in a person, he shall be put in a counseling center by a court judgment based on a request from the prosecution.”

UAE: Release all those unjustly imprisoned before COP28

The process of detaining people beyond the completion of their sentences is not transparent. It also lacks minimum standards of fairness and due process. The Federal Court of Appeal in Abu Dhabi, at the request of the State Security Prosecution, issues referral orders to counseling centers without any fair trial guarantees. Such detention for “counselling” can apparently be extended indefinitely.

Authorities argue that many of the people held beyond their sentences pose a threat to state security and are in need of rehabilitation. Although the law speaks of “counselling centers,” people whose detention is extended in this way often continue to be held in the same prison where they served their regular sentence. Prisoners scheduled for release are transferred from Al-Razeen Prison to the Munasaha (“Counselling”) Center, which is often just another building in the same prison that is isolated from the other wings.



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