MEPs demand release of Alia Abdel Nour
In an open letter to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, a coalition of MEPs have called for the immediate release of the terminally-ill UAE detainee Alia Abdel Nour “so that she may live her last days in dignity and in the care of her family.”
Signed by ten members of the European Parliament, including UK Labour politician Julie Ward, the letter accusses the UAE authorities of reportedly denying Abdel Nour adequate medical care to treat her cancer and refusing her regular contact with her family.
In a case described by Human Rights Watch as "marred by due process violations", Alia was arrested in 2015, disappeared for four months and forced to sign a confession under torture. In 2017 she was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 10 years in prison; family members have said that her sentence relates to small donations she made to Syrian families at the advent of the country’s revolution in 2011.
A year after her arrest Alia was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite this her family say that she has been severely mistreated by the authorities and frequently denied access to adequate medical care.
With just months left to live, Alia is reportedly being held in a windowless room without ventilation and chained to a hospital bed under armed guard.
“In the spirit of the UAE’s 2019 Year of Tolerance, we call on you to use the authority of your office, as the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, to secure the release of Alia Abdel Nour, and pending her release, to unshackle her and allow family members unimpeded access to her.”, MEPs said today.
Today’s call follows similar demands made earlier this month by Human Rights Watch and UN rights experts, who urged the UAE authorities to allow the detainee early release on medical grounds.
Read the full letter here: