Coronavirus case confirmed in UAE jail
A detainee at Abu Dhabi’s al-Wathba prison has tested positive for Covid-19, a source confirmed today.
The coronavirus patient is Abduallah al-Shamsi, an Omani citizen, who was diagnosed with the virus at al-Wathba prison after showing symptoms of Covid-19.
According to the source, prison authorities deny him medical treatment despite the diagnosis.
His mother further confirmed via her twitter account that he was recently transferred to solitary confinement and added that he has been denied family visits for over nine months now.
Emirati prisons are notorious for their inadequate, or non-existent, medical care and overcrowded detention conditions with poor sanitation, which place prisoners at extreme risk with no chance for social distancing. In such conditions the virus can spread particularly quickly and might soon rampage through al-Wathba prison with catastrophic effects.
Al-Shamsi was attending high school in the United Arab Emirates before being arrested in 2018 and subsequently held in secret detention where he reportedly was subjected to torture during interogation.
Since his arrest, he has not been able to meet with a lawyer, nor receive consular assistance.
Al-Shamsi was sentenced to 25 years in prison for alleged links with Qatari authorities, a charge which appears to be in connection with legislation issued in 2017, which declares it a crime to show “sympathy” to Qatar, punishable by imprisonment and a fine.
ICFUAE urges the Emirati authorities to release all prisoners of conscience and conditionally release those who were in contact with Mr. al-Shamsi or suffer serious or terminal illnesses so they can self-isolate in a safe environment with access to healthcare. We also call for improved detention conditions and access to medical care throughout all UAE detention facilities.