Indefinite detention: UAE authorities detain prisoners beyond their sentence
The UAE authorities have failed to release five prisoners of conscience, who were convicted during the grossly unfair UAE 94 trial, despite having completed their seven-year sentences.
Abdulla al-Hajri, Omran Al-Harethy, Mahmoud Al-Hoseny and Mansour Al-Ahmady were all due to be released on 16 July 2019, however continue to remain behind bars nine months later. Fahad Al-Hajri’s sentence expired on 20 March 2020, although there has been no indication of his release.
They join other prisoners who have been indefinitely detained in Abu Dhabi’s notoriously repressive Al-Razeen prison: Ahmed Almolla, Faysal Elshoh, Othman Elshoh, Abdelwaheed Elshoh, Abdullah Elhelw, Said Elbrimy and Kalifa Rabiaa, all completed their sentences some time ago.
Indefinite detention is common practice in the UAE: authorities consistently fail to release prisoners of conscience past their release date. Instead, their detention is extended under the Counter Terrorism Law with the pretence that they pose a terrorist threat. They are transferred to so-called “counselling centres”, without a clear legal basis. The continued detention of inmates beyond their sentence breaches both international human rights norms as well as the UAE’s own laws regarding fair trials and due process.
The UAE 94 was a grossly unfair mass trial that took place in 2013 in the UAE. 94 activists, including human rights lawyers, student leaders and teachers, were accused of plotting to overthrow the government after openly criticising the Emirati government and launching a petition for democratic reform. 69 of the 94 were found guilty and sentenced to 7-15 years in Al-Razeen prison. Prior to the trial, the UAE authorities subjected many of the 94 activists to enforced disappearances and torture.
We call on the Emirati government to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, particularly those held beyond their release dates and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which prisoners remain one of the most vulnerable groups of people to the disease.
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