Former "UAE 94" prisoner continues to face severe restrictions despite his release
The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR), a Geneva-based human rights organisation, has learned concerning details regarding the living conditions of former prisoner Abdurrahman Bin Sobeih Al-Suwaidi, released almost a year ago.
On May 16, 2019, the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pardoned Mr Bin Sobeih after two television interviews, in July 2017 and early May 2019, in which he was forced to denounce Al-Islah, an Emirati reform group, of which he had been a member. It was apparent that the authorities had struck a deal with Bin Sobeih for his release.
Since his release, very little on his whereabouts has been reported. Recently, the ICJHR received information that Mr Bin Sobeih has not been allowed to return to his home in Dubai but is forced to stay in Abu Dhabi at his sister's house where he is made to wear an electronic ankle monitor at all times. He is denied the right to leave the house or meet anyone apart from his family. Once in a while, he is permitted to visit his family in Dubai for a few hours but is not allowed to stay overnight.
In 2013, Mr Abdurrahman Bin Sobeih was convicted in absentia in the infamous “UAE 94” case, a mass trial against 94 signatories of a 2011 petition calling for political reform in the UAE. The defendants were charged with "plotting to overthrow the government" among other charges. Bin Sobeih was arrested in 2015 in Indonesia and later deported to the UAE, where he was tried again and sentenced, on March 28, 2016, to ten years in prison.
ICFUAE is very concerned by these recent news and calls on the UAE authorities to immediately lift the restrictive measures imposed on Bin Sobeih, who should never have been imprisoned in the first place.
The government must stop extracting unfunded confessions from prisoners in exchange for their release and placement under similar restrictive conditions. Instead, we urge the UAE to free all prisoners of conscience unconditionally and with immediate effect.