ICFUAE Newsletter #9 – The Latest Campaign News from the UAE
The latest news on UAE campaigns
The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE supports political activism and democratic reform in the UAE. We follow all developments in the UAE and bring you the latest updates in our newsletter.
You can follow our work on our website, Facebook and Twitter
Abdulrahman bin Subaih – exiled but then forced back to the UAE
Abdulrahman bin Subaih who had left the United Arab Emirates and was in exile seeking asylum in Indonesia was forced to return to the UAE at the end of December 2015. Bin Subaih, a member of the UAE 94, left the UAE as a result of the crack down by the authorities on political activists.
Abdulrahman bin Subaih had been applying for asylum in Indonenesia after having been sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia. During this process the UAE requested that Indonesia return him back to the UAE. Although the Indonesian authorities initially detained him, they went on to collaborate with the Emiratis and allowed the Emirati authorities to take hold of him and extradite him back to the Gulf state. The UAE were able to reportedly send in their own forces to Indonesia to ensure that he was taken back to the UAE.
Given the number of reported cases of torture and ill-treatment that prisoners in the UAE have faced, particularly members of the UAE 94, there is real concern that bin Subaih may be at risk of torture and ill-treatment upon his return. If he does suffer from such treatment upon his return the Indonesian authorities will be equally liable.
There have been calls for the UN Special Rapporteur on Enforced Disappearances to investigate this latest case.
Libyans put on terror charges in the UAE
4 Libyans detained in the UAE have been charged with supporting terrorism. Citing their support for the Libyan organisations, the Libyan Dawn Militia and the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, which the UAE believe are supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Libyan detainees, are also dual nationals, two of whom are Canadian and one American.
They were initially arrested in 2014 amid various accusations of terrorism. As the UAE authorities worked to cement their control and create further opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood a number of organisations were included in a UAE terrorist list, which included international development charities. The list included the Muslim Brotherhood and organisations that the UAE believed to be supportive of the Brotherhood ideology.
Since the detention of the Libyans, there have been numerous reports torture and ill-treatment. One detainee, Salim Al Aradi was initially detained with his brother Mohammed Al Aradi. Mohammed was released and in 2015 gave testimony of his time in detention, revealing that he been subjected to torture. During this most recent trial Salim Al Aradi attempted to physically expose his bruises from the torture he recieved, but this was not acknoweldged by the judge hearing the proceedings.
The trial has now been adjourned until February 15.
UK eases travel for Emiratis despite UAE denying this privilege to own citizens
The UK has introduced a new platinum visa service for Emirati citizens which will hasten the process for those applying for visas to the UK. This latest visa upgrade comes on the back of the EU visa waiver system that was introduced in 2015 to further ease travel restrictions.
The UK’s latest announcement was made as the Lord Mayor of London had made a visit the UAE to call for a strenghtening of relationship between the two countries. The Lord Mayor ignored concerns about human rights abuses and called for greater cooperation between the parties. This new visa system will allow greater freedom of movement and is a sign of this cooperation that is being called for. This is despite concerns that have been continuously raised with the British government about human rights violations in the UAE. One of the most ironic violations being the ban on freedom of movement of some citizens who have faced travel bans. Human rights activist and Martin Ennals 2015 Laureate, Ahmed Mansoor, has been banned from travelling and certainly would not be able to take advantage of this new visa system.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in the UAE says essential tool for dissidents
In a speech in the UAE, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said that the website was a useful tool for dissidents in those countries where freedom of speech has been under threat. In a tweet to @ICFUAE, Wales said that his point was that “no one government can control http://ar.wikipedia.org to control the flow of info.”
Yet many have questioned this speech, given that it took place in the UAE, notorious for its control of information by imprisoning and silencing dissidents, through increasingly repressive laws.
Writing for the Middle East Monitor, Alastair Sloan said:
“If Wales’ is looking for credit for this tepid attack on the UAE’s record on freedom of speech, he shouldn’t get it. It isn’t internet monitoring per se that restricts freedom of speech – although that’s far from ideal. It’s torture. It’s beatings. It’s long prison sentences. In other words – it’s what happens after the internet surveillance, the threat of state-sponsored violence meted out via sham courts.”
Read the article here
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