ICFUAE letter to the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, UK
Mr Mansoor Abulhoul
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
1-2 Grosvenor Cres, Belgravia,
London SW1X 7EE
RE: Alia Abdulnoor
Dear Mr Mansoor Abulhoul,
We are writing to you on the anniversary of Alia Abdulnoor’s passing in UAE custody to express our strong concerns over the circumstances surrounding her death, as well as the continued denial of adequate medical care to prisoners in the UAE.
Despite having been diagnosed with breast cancer just one month into her arrest, Alia was consistently denied access to adequate medical care and was forced to sign a document stating that she refused chemotherapy.
Untreated the cancer spread through her body and her condition deteriorated. When it had become clear that her illness had turned terminal, her family, backed by the United Nations and EU Parliament, repeatedly appealed for her early release on health grounds to allow her to spend her final weeks in the care of her family and in dignity. The authorities ignored these requests.
On 4 May last year, Alia died while shackled to a hospital bed in a windowless room without ventilation and with an armed guard as her only company.
Security forces arrested Alia Abdulnoor on 28 June, 2015, and held her without charge for 15 months, four of which in an unknown location. During this period, she was tortured by prison warders and forced to sign a confession while blindfolded and under duress. On the basis of this “confession” she was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017, in a case Human Rights Watch described as “marred by due process violations”.
In light of the above, we call on you to use your influence as ambassador to initiate an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Alia Abdulnoor’s death and to hold those responsible for her torture and neglect accountbale accordingly.
Appealing to your humanity, we also implore you to take urgent steps to end the practices of torture and ill-treatment, which, in recent years, have become endemic throughout the Emirati prison system.
Finally, in light of the grave dangers connected with the coronavirus pandemic, we urge you to ensure that appropriate medical care is granted to all prisoners in the UAE, and that all those detained solely for their human rights advocacy are released unconditionally and with immediate effect.
The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE