Suwaidi Sisters released but UAE targeting of families continues
On February 15 2015 Maryam, Asma and Alyazia Khalifa Al-Suwaidi were detained by the UAE authorities for tweeting for the release of their brother, Dr Issa Khalifa al Suwaidi.
The sisters were detained after they used Twitter to voice their concerns about the detention of their brother. Dr al-Suwaidi, a Prisoner of Conscience, was imprisoned by the UAE authorities as part of the UAE 94 trial. He has been detained since 2012 and is being held at al-Razeen prison.
After their tweet, the sisters were asked to report to Abu Dhabi police station. After they did so no further information was released and their family had not heard from them. It is believed they had no access to lawyers and the location of their detention was unknown. In some unsubstantiated reports last week it was believed that the UAE authorities had confirmed that the sisters were being held – but these reports were unconfirmed. Emirati activists believed it was highly unlikely that the authorities would confirm or deny the reports of detention.
As their detention approached 3 months, concerns for the girls safety continued to grow. Their release comes as a welcome relief to their family and friends. However, these events are evidence of the continued repression in the UAE and the increased targeting of families.