“Enough is Enough”: Activists in London demand an end to torture of female detainees in the UAE
Campaigners gathered in central London this afternoon to call for an end to the mistreatment of female prisoners in the UAE.
Today’s action, which was organised by the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE), was called in response to recent testimonies from female prisoners in the UAE which reveal endemic practices of torture across the Emirati prison system.
These testimonies came to light after a series of letters and audio recordings were smuggled out of Abu Dhabi’s al-Wathba prison earlier this year detailing practices of torture, inhumane conditions and the degrading treatment female prisoners are forced to endure in the UAE.
In one of the letters, 21-year-old prisoner of conscience, Mariam al-Balushi, said that prison security staff had threatened her with rape on numerous occasions and subjected her to verbal and physical abuse.
In another, Amina Abdullahi, 36, said that she had been held in solitary confinement and was forced to sign a false confession under duress during her interrogation period and was beaten on numerous occasions by Emirati security forces.
Full transcripts of these letters, as well as audio recordings from the prisoners in question, can be found here.
At today’s demonstration, a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE said:
“These revelations are yet a further demonstration of the deep flaws that lie at heart of the Emirati legal system, where practices of torture and a lack of due process have become increasingly systematic in recent years. International pressure needs to be exerted on the UAE authorities to adhere to the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which affords basic rights for inmates such as access to adequate medical care, food and other amenities.”
These developments are part of a wider issue of systematic torture and ill-treatment in Emirati prisons; numerous such accounts have surfaced in recent years leading UN experts, as well as rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to publicly raise the issue on a number of occasions. However, despite numerous calls to do so, UAE authorities have refused to allow international observers into the country to inspect and monitor conditions across the prison system.
Today’s action is the beginning of a week-long campaign in an effort to raise awareness of the torture of Female detainees in the UAE.