ICFUAE | International Campaign For Freedom in the UAE

ICFUAE | International Campaign For Freedom in the UAE
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Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in the UAE

9 months 11 hours

Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continued in 2015 to arbitrarily detain and in some cases forcibly disappear individuals who criticized the authorities, and its security forces continued to face allegations that they torture detainees in pretrial detention. The UAE passed an anti-discrimination law that further jeopardizes free speech and is discriminatory in that it excludes references to gender and sexuality. Authorities denied access to the country to activists who criticized the UAE’s mistreatment of migrant workers.

Authorities forcibly disappeared and detained incommunicado individuals who criticized the government or its allies. Three Emirati sisters, Asma, Mariam, and Al Yazzyah al-Suweidi, spent three months in incommunicado detention after authorities called them to a police station in Abu Dhabi on February 15. The three, whom authorities eventually released without charge, had posted comments criticizing the UAE authorities’ unlawful imprisonment of Emirati dissidents, including their brother, Dr. Issa al-Suweidi.

In August, 13 security officers in civilian clothes arrested Emirati academic Nasser bin Ghaith. He had made comments on social media criticizing the Egyptian security forces’ mass killing of demonstrators in Cairo’s Rab’a Square in 2013 on the two-year anniversary of the massacre. Egypt is a key ally of the UAE government. Bin Ghaith’s whereabouts remained unknown at time of writing. 

Six Libyan nationals remained in detention without charge, more than a year after their arrests. Individuals who were arrested at the same time but subsequently released alleged that authorities tortured them in an attempt to secure confessions and said they heard other detainees being subjected to torture. The Libyans said their interrogators asked them about supposed links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE has designated a terrorist organization, and described being subjected to beatings, forced standing, and threats of rape, electrocution, and death.

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