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Written by HRDs and Journalists
URGENT ACTION: The UAE slides into a police state
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is concerned about reports received on 13 August 2012 that some of the 51 human rights defenders and activists detained during a major crackdown in the United Arab Emirates have started a hunger strike protesting their arbitrary arrest and illegal detention. The reports, while unconfirmed due to a lack of access to the prison, have not been denied by authorities. GCHR fears that human rights lawyers Dr. Mohammed Al-Mansoori and Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken could be amongst them.
On 16 July 2012, security forces in Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai and Sharjah began carrying out a major crackdown against human rights defenders and activists across the UAE. A number of human rights defenders and advocates for reform were arrested in Abu Dhabi under orders of the Public Prosecutor. Their arrests were reportedly linked to unfounded allegations that they are part of an organization that poses a threat to national security.
Among those arrested are the human rights lawyer and President of the Emirates Centre for Studies and Information Dr. Mohammed Al-Mansoori, and prominent human rights lawyer Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, along with his son Rashid and his brother-in-law Abdulla Al-Hajeri. (See GCHR appeal dated 17 July 2012 for further information http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/198).
The detentions of the 51 human rights defenders and activists have been extended after the expiration of 21 days as opposed to the laws in force in the country. The detainees were not brought to court when the request to extend their detention was presented to the Judge of the Department of State Security in the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. Prominent human rights lawyer Abdulhamid Al-Kumaiti noted that “the action taken to extend their detention is a violation to the penal procedure law and can hence be challenged in front of the chief of the Federal Supreme Court.”
Reports confirmed most of the 51 human rights defenders and activists have no proper access to their families or lawyers in a flagrant violation of human rights law. Reliable reports confirmed that lawyers were also denied access to them and denied the right to be present during the interrogation. (See GCHR appeal dated 17 July 2012 for further information http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/207).
In another worrying development, the security forces moved six citizens from the group of activists collectively known as the "UAE7" – whose citizenship has been revoked - from the Al-Shahama prison to an unknown location. GCHR fears that the security apparatus will attempt to charge them over the same unfounded allegations that they are part of an organization that poses a threat to national security. (See GCHR appeal dated 12 April 2012 for further information http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/118).
The GCHR expresses serious concern at the arrests of the human rights defenders in the UAE. The GCHR believes that the allegations made against the human rights defenders are being used as a tool to silence them and to impede their ligitimate and peaceful human rights work and the exercise of their right to freedom of expression.
GCHR urges the UAE authorities to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Mohammed Al-Mansoori, Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, his son Rashid, Abdulla Al-Hajeri and all other human rights defenders as GCHR believes that they have been detained solely as a result of their legitimate human rights work;
2. Ensure that no more human rights defenders are deprived of their liberty as a result of their human rights work;
3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Dr. Mohammed Al-Mansoori, and Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, his son Rashid, Abdulla Al-Hajeri and all other human rights defenders who are being detained;
4. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in UAE are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (b and c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”
Please write immediately in English or in Arabic:
• To express your concern about the arrest of the 51 human rights defenders and activists demanding their immediate release;
• To urge the authorities in the UAE to immediately stop targeting of human rights defenders;
• To express your concern and refusal to the severe suppression of the legitimate rights such as freedom of expression, assembly, and association by the UAE authorities of its citizens, in particular the activists.
Please Send Appeals now TO:
Vice-President and Prime Minister
H.H. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum
Office of the Prime Minister
Fax: +971 4 3531974
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
H.H. Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
Fax: +971 2 4414938
Minister of Foreign Affairs
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahya
Fax: +971 2 4447766
Minister of Justice
His Excellency Dr. Hadef Jawa'an Al Dhaheri
Minister of Justice
United Arab Emirates
Fax: +971 2 681 5155
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.