Report on the Prison Conditions in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates are boasting about their culture of law enforcement and promotion of human rights in the country in their second report made during the Universal Periodic Review, dated November 2, 2012. The report congratulates the UAE government for their will to develop the capacity of the Ministry of Interior in the field of human rights, in order to fulfill UN agreements and to concentrate human rights bodies. It also reports the government's progress in the hierarchy of international indicators and their generous financial contribution to the victims of torture and the UN.
However, what happens in the prisons of the United Arab Emirates is torture and ill-treatment as well as inhuman and degrading punishment and other gross violations of human rights. This seems to be contrary to what is stated by the Emirati authorities, which differs from what occurs in real life.
Indeed, the UAE government has given up its job of reforming, rehabilitating and helping the prisoners to reintegrate in society especially when it comes to dissidents, activists and opponents. This approach violates all the principles and rules related to detention or imprisonment such as the rehabilitative and correctional mission of the prison highlighted by Article 10 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the UAE has not yet ratified.
We also find a flagrant breach in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 including rule number 24, which confirmed that "All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person."
UAE authorities have also violated the provisions of Article 2 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by General Assembly resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979, which obliges law enforcement officials "to respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons."
Civil society has expressed their will to set non-custodial measures, known as the Tokyo rules, as effective substitutes of the prison in order to enable authorities to adapt criminal penalties in accordance with individuals’ needs and allow prisoners to pursue their work, studies and family life. However, the UAE works in contrast with these principles and laws by restricting the freedom of the prisoners of conscience and human rights activists. These include bloggers, experts, lawyers, academics and former judges and many others among the elite of the UAE, who are languishing in prisons after having peacefully demanded the president of the country to carry out political reforms and to empower the fundamental freedoms and rights in the UAE.
In fact, prior to their detention in Emirati jails such as Al Wathba, Al Rezin and Al Sadr prisons, these reformists have been subjected to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention in secret locations, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment which affected their safety, freedom and humanity. In addition, some of them were tried by an oppressive and partial judiciary before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court which lacks the most basic guarantees of fair trial. Prisoners of conscience and activists were also abused and deprived of their basic rights, including in jails. For example, the group of activists known as the “UAE 94”, were mercilessly tortured and harassed by Emirati authorities who continue to undermine the rights of their citizens to speak out.
Prison authorities deliberately turn these prisons into the most notorious, unbearable and hellish jails in the country to the extent that pushed some people to name Al Rezin prison as the "Guantánamo of the UAE."
- The methodology and objectives of the report
The report’s aim is to convey what happens within UAE prisons, in regards to gross violations of human rights and prisoners’ rights, particularly dissidents and activists. These violations are in clear breach of the Emirati Constitution and the relevant, international laws and conventions.
The report is based on the complaints and grievances that the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights has received from Emirati and non-Emirati prisoners and their families in addition to human rights activists residing in the United Arab Emirates. The report is also based on the reports of international human rights organizations that have monitored human rights violations in the United Arab Emirates and the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers following her visit to the UAE in 2014 and reports issued by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the European Parliament.
The report examines the legislative framework governing Emirati prisons and their conformity with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957, the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988 and the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990.
The report also enumerates the violations that affected the rights of prisoners of conscience and human rights activists who are languishing in the prisons of the United Arab Emirates.
The report concludes with a set of recommendations that include abolishing violations against political activists and opponents and ensuring that they will not recur, improving the prison conditions and making sure that they are respecting the dignity and the humanity of prisoners.
- The legislative framework of prisons and the treatment of prisoners in the UAE
Constitution of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE Constitution covers rights and freedoms that are indirectly linked to the rights of prisoners. These include Article 26 of the constitution which states that “No man shall be subjected to torture or other indignity” and Article 28: “Physical and mental abuse of an accused person shall be prohibited” in addition to Article 41 which affirms that “Every person shall have the right to submit complaints to the competent authorities, including the judicial authorities, concerning the abuse or infringement of the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Chapter”.
Federal Law N° 43 of 1992 on regulating Penal Institutions
According to the law, penal institutions are related to the Ministry of Interior (Article 4) and the public prosecutor controls the penal institutions (Article 10). Indeed, the law has enumerated a set of rights for the prisoners notably the right to lodge complaints to the public prosecutor (Article 9-11) and to meet a member from it or someone from the inspection authorities (Article 10) and the right to have clothes, to get food and to receive visits as well as the right to see a lawyer privately according to a written permission provided by the competent Public Prosecution (Article 23). Prisoners also have the right to health care and health inspection in the penal institution and to have a private clinic in prison and a record of the health situation of the imprisoned (Article 29-30 - 32), as well as the right of access to hygiene equipment.Finally, prisoners have the right to practice sports two hours in the open air (Article 30) and the right to have a place to pray, to education and training and to have books, newspapers and magazines. The law also addressed the discipline of the prisoners in Article 5 and spoke about sanctions. It stressed the "duty to conduct an investigation that includes the imprisoned facing the crime attributed to him and hear his words and achieve his defense” (Article 39).
The executive regulation of the Federal Law No. 43 came on September 12, 1995 to address all rights in detail.
The defects of the legislative framework of the prisons
Unlike many constitutions, Emirati authorities did not initiate the inclusion of the prisoner's rights and its guarantees directly in the constitution, for instance, the Egyptian Constitution has provided a whole article to speak about the rights of the prisoner which is Article 56 of the Constitution of 2014 which confirmed that “Prison is a house for reform and rehabilitation. Prisons and detention centers shall be subject to judicial oversight. All that which violates the dignity of the person and or endangers his health is forbidden. The law shall regulate the provisions to reform and rehabilitate those who have been convicted, and to facilitate a decent life once they are released.”
The Tunisian Constitution also speaks about the rights of the prisoners in Article 30: "Every prisoner shall have the right to humane treatment that preserves their dignity. In carrying out a punishment involving the deprivation of liberty, the state shall take into account the interests of the family and shall seek the rehabilitation and re-integration of the prisoner into society”.
Absence of an independent and impartial judicial supervision on penal institutions
The UAE government has chosen to make penal institutions under the authority of the Ministry of Interior according to Article 4 of the Penal Institutions law which doubles the risk of violations of prisoners' rights, especially since the Ministry of Interior is a security ministry that tends towards a security deal with the prisoners instead of a humanitarian way. This affects and humiliates the dignity of the prisoner.
In order to avoid such threats that may impair the rights of prisoners, many countries have chosen the separation of police and prisons and thus making penal institutions and prisons under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice, where supposedly the concern for the humanization of prisons and the security of the dignity and the rights of the prisoners will be guaranteed.
As for the public prosecutor’s control over the penal institutions, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers had confirmed following her visit to the UAE that the concentration of such tasks in the hands of the public prosecution raises concern towards the prevention of independence and fairness of the criminal investigations and proceedings.
In fact, the Public Prosecutor of the United Arab Emirates is not an independent and impartial judiciary. On the contrary, it is dependent and controlled by the executive branch in a clear violation of the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, 27 August to 7 September 1990.
The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights has been informed that the public prosecutor of the United Arab Emirates abandons all of its powers when it comes to prisoners of conscience and human rights activists and does not investigate into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment; it does not visit the detention centers and prisons to inspect the living conditions of the prisoners. Indeed, the public prosecutor fears the state security apparatus since promotion in the judicial field needs a security approval, and thus the judge and the deputy of the public prosecutor are in an inferior position than the investigator of the State Security Apparatus, who controls the decision of their promotion and may cause with his reports their deportation and punishment in case one of them insisted on the existence of a some kind of violation or requested an inquiry about it.
- Violation of the prisoners’ rights by the authorities of the UAE
- Secret prisons
Some of the grave violations of the detainees’ rights, particularly opponents, reformists, and defenders of human rights, is transferring them in secret detention centers with no court decision to do so and without informing their families of their place in flagrant breach of Article 240 of the UAE Penal Code, which affirms that “Detention shall be the punishment imposed upon any public officeholder or person in charge of a public service who arrests, detains or remands a person in cases other than those provided for in the law.”
Keeping prisoners in secret jails and unknown detention centers away from the impartial judicial supervision, their families and the civil society organizations represents a crime of enforced disappearance in accordance with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances which the UAE did not ratify.
It is well known that arresting anyone arbitrarily and imprisoning him in an unknown prison in isolation from the outside world is a breach of international conventions and a violation of a detainee’s rights and thus putting his life and safety in danger. Indeed, they are people who were forcibly abducted or disappeared without informing their relatives or international human rights organizations about their place of detention or the charges against them and their detention will sometimes be a kind of punishment and often the beginning of a long and hectic process inside the hellish Emirati prisons where they will be tortured and abused in order to extract confessions from them without any supervision or oversight over this ill-treatment in addition to the UAE denial of all these violations.
Secret prisons in the United Arab Emirates in which the State Security Apparatus keeps the detainees are unknown except through the testimonies of many of those who came out of these prisons. The most famous is located in the main building of the state security apparatus, where no one can enter except the working staff. The building is located in the Abu Dhabi Emirate on the Arabian Gulf Street and away from the Abu Dhabi international Airport, about a quarter of an hour's drive. Most violations and torture happen in this building, it has solitary confinement rooms and the guards are reported to be Nepali citizens. They transfer the prisoner blindfolded and handcuffed, from their solitary confinement cells for investigation, torture or restrooms.
There are some people who are languishing in the building for years with no trial and there are others who came out without trials because their psychological and mental state became unstable because of torture. There are some cases where the detainee has been killed under torture, but usually the authorities cover up the crime by fabricating false medical reports in which they describe the death as being normal due to natural circumstances and thus hiding the truth and the effects of torture. Emirati and non-Emirati citizens are charged of doing the interrogation and torture in these prisons.
- Violation of the right to physical and moral safety
When reading the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates, one can find an explicit prohibition of torture in Article 26 which states that “No man shall be subjected to torture or other indignity” in addition to Article 28 which adds that “Physical and mental abuse of an accused person shall be prohibited.” Besides, the UAE have deliberately delayed their ratification of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1984, until July 19, 2012.
Indeed, Article 2 of the Convention against Torture confirms that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification of torture as well as principle 11 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
However, when treating the prisoners, particularly opponents and human rights activists, UAE authorities did not abide by international principles and rules, instead, they exercised all forms of torture, humiliation and ill-treatment against them.
- Beating and chaining the prisoners
The ICJAHR has already revealed some of the persons’ names who tortured and abused the detainees in Al Rezin prison and some of them have deliberately chained the prisoners’ hands and legs from behind which hurt and harmed them with scars in their hands and legs in clear breach of Article 33 of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which states that “Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains, irons and strait-jackets, shall never be applied as a punishment”. Besides, there were some Emirati officers who chained the prisoners’ hands and legs from behind and made them with their hands bound, sit in the prison yard at noon under the scorching sun; and other officers who intended to inspect the detainee’s luggage for revenge especially when it comes to prisoners of opinion and human rights activists when they purposely started to scatter their luggage, throw chairs, and squeeze shampoo and toothpaste on room floors in front of them.
- Solitary confinement
Prison authorities in the UAE put prisoners, as a punitive measure, in solitary cells that are more like a coffin because of their narrowness; indeed, these cells are too hot and dark and lack ventilation and have a disgusting smell which led some of the detainees to describe solitary confinement in Emirati prisons as a "white torture," a form of abuse and revenge against prisoners of conscience and human rights activists in order to make them collapse and have a psychological depression.
Prisoners in solitary confinement are prevented from having any visit or contact with the outside world and are deprived of the Koran, newspapers, papers and pens and denied the right to have fresh air. Indeed, the imprisonment of human rights activists and political opponents in solitary confinement continues for long periods and exceeds sometimes 7 days according to the law of penal institutions of the United Arab Emirates.
The group of “UAE 94” was particularly targeted by the government who put them in solitary confinement for revenge and retribution. Among them we find, Dr Mohammed Al-Roken, Ahmed Hajji al-Qobaisi, Salem Mousa Al-Halyan al-Tuniji, Mansoor Al-Ahmadi, Khalifa al-Nuaimi, Ali Abdulla Al-Khaja, Ahmed Saqer Al-Suweidi, Mohamed Abdulrazzaq Alsidiq, Fahad Abdulqader Al-Hajiri, Abdullah Al-Hajiri, Hadif Al-Owais, Abdul Rahman Al-Hadidi, Saif al-Egleh and many others including Libyan businessman.
Prison authorities in the United Arab Emirates did not allow the prisoners to defend themselves before they had been sentenced of solitary confinement and denied them the right to appeal before a higher authority in order to review the sentence in accordance with Principle 30 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or imprisonment: “A detained or imprisoned person shall have the right to be heard before disciplinary action is taken. He shall have the right to bring such action to higher authorities for review”.
The harmful effects of solitary confinement are known to all people, they include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations and psychosis, and the risks rise with each additional day in solitary confinement (Istanbul statement on the use and effects of solitary confinement 2007).
- Using loudspeakers as a mean of torture
Prison authorities particularly in al Resin prison have deliberately put loudspeakers in jails in order to play very noisy and loudly music, praising the ruler of Abu Dhabi, at day and night even during the sleeping time of the prisoners who wake up from their sleep troubled.
Dr Mohammed Al Roken has already had a panic attack after running the loudspeakers suddenly at night which made him faint and then transferred to the prison clinic to be found suffering with high blood pressure and inflammation in the ear as a result of amplifiers. However, in tomorrow morning loudspeakers were run again regardless of the state of the sick persons and the old prisoners.
- Humiliating inspection
The documents of the Human Rights Council on The Right to Respect of Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence, and Protection of Honor and Reputation have included in (Article 17 General Note - The 2001) the controls for the inspection of prisoners and their visitors and decided the following: “Regarding personal and physical inspection, it must ensure effective action as doing the inspection in a consistent manner in respect of the dignity of the person being searched “.
However, the prison authorities are deliberately mistreating and abusing prisoners of conscience within the prisons, especially in Al Rezin and are stripping them of all their underwear to undergo inspection which is a humiliating act of dignity.
- Violation of the prisoner's right to health
Prisoners must have access to free health services available in the country and decisions regarding their health should not be taken only by qualified people in the medical field, in accordance with the principle 9 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
The UAE authorities have been keen on providing a whole chapter of the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 of the punitive institutions for medical care.
The prison administration should provide as a minimum, in every prison:
- Initial medical examination upon entry to the prison
- Medical examinations outside the prison
- Treatment in case of emergency
- Places equipped with the appropriate equipment for examinations and treatment of prisoners
- An adequate supply of appropriate medications especially meals which may be medically necessary.
However, the disease has consistently spread within Emirati prisons and the prisoners’ health continues to gravely deteriorate in the absence of health care and delay in providing the necessary treatment, which is a form of slow death.
Various reasons can cause health deterioration for the prisoners of conscience including:
- Narrow prisons
- Intense heat inside the prison’s cells
- Spread of dirt, especially in Rezin, Al Wathba and al-Sadr prisons which are one of the dirtiest prisons
- Lack of ventilation inside the prison’s rooms
- Lack of lighting or strong lighting inside prisons Rooms
- Deliberate starvation by the prison authorities
- Having unsuitable and salty water for drinking
- Providing expired food for prisoners which poisoned them and caused them nausea and diarrhea.
This represents a clear breach to the prisoners’ right to get enough food, drink clean water, have a bed to sleep on and inhale fresh air in addition to the fact that the prison authorities did not provide any medical care for the sick detainees as they seem to be indifferent and neglecting to their pain. In fact, the prison doctors did not move to inspect the living conditions of the prisoners, the cleanliness of the rooms, the safety of the food and other rights related to the health of prisoners which is a violation to the prisoners' rights and a breach to article 26 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners “The medical officer shall regularly inspect and advise the director upon: ( a ) The quantity, quality, preparation and service of food; ( b ) The hygiene and cleanliness of the institution and the prisoners; ( c ) The sanitation, heating, lighting and ventilation of the institution; ( d ) The suitability and cleanliness of the prisoners' clothing and bedding; ( e ) The observance of the rules concerning physical education and sports”
These violations and abuses against dissidents and opponents have led them to do hunger strikes or as they call it "The Battle of the Empty Intestines ", including, the hunger strike on July 31, 2013 in protest against the difficult and harsh conditions inside the prisons and to put pressure on the United Arab Emirates authorities to improve these conditions and make them compatible with international standards particularly with the set of principles for the protection of All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment.
- UAE violation of the prisoners’ right to have contact with the outside world
The right to receive family visits is considered to be one of the basic rights guaranteed by Emirati and international laws including Article 23 of the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on regulating penal institutions which confirmed that every prisoner has the right to contact his family and friends, receive visits and meet a counsel in private.
The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners recognized the prisoner’s right to remain in contact with his family; the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under any form of detention or imprisonment also affirmed the prisoner's right to have family visits under "reasonable conditions and restrictions." However, UAE authorities prevent the prisoners from meeting and contacting their families and use different methods to do so in clear breach of all the rules and principles.
Indeed, we have been informed in the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights that the UAE authorities had prohibited families of prisoners of conscience at Al Rezin prison from visiting their sons on the first day of Eid as they used to before. In fact, most of the families came from more than one place and faced many difficulties to get to the prison, however, the prison authorities prohibited visits until the fifth day of the feast which is a degrading and inhuman treatment to the prisoners and their families who were deprived of meeting each other on an important religious event. The UAE have also deliberately left families of the detainees at the prison gates for long hours under the scorching sun and searched in a humiliating way in clear violation of the Principles on Detention Standard Minimum Rules.
Only wives, mothers and children can see the prisoners across the glass and authorities do not enable them to have much time together instead they urge them to quickly end the visit. In al Wathba prison, for instance, the prison authorities have reduced the number of visits to once a week after they were twice in addition to the duration of the visit, which became 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes and the number of phone calls were also reduced to 3 calls only. Some prisoners said to have been banned from this calls for more than 10 days.
Prison authorities did not care about the rights of children, as it is the case of the prisoner Amina Al-Abduli who was separated from her three children after the decision of the State Security Chamber of putting her in al Wathba prison along with her brother Mos’aab Al-Abduli. Amina Al-Abduli was forcibly hidden in a secret location since November 2015 without her family's knowledge and deprived, as a result, of seeing her children during the whole period of her enforced disappearance which is such a flagrant violation to the child's best interest highlighted by the children's rights convention announced by the United Nations General Assembly under the number 25/44 dated November 20, 1989, which the UAE have joined and ratified in November 11, 1997.
Emirates authorities was not keen on providing special care and developing appropriate measures to ensure the preservation of links between a mother and her children as well as checking the best interest of children.
- The absence of an independent mechanism to visit prisons, monitor violations and control the prison authorities
UAE’s refusal to join the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture protects her from the mandate of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture in addition to the fact that the investigations of the Sub-Committee on the complaints of torture and ill-treatment in prisons and other detention centers will not affect her.
Indeed, Emirati government has not fulfilled its promise that was made during the universal periodic review before the Human Rights Council in 2013 on focusing a National Commission for Human Rights in accordance with the requirements of the Paris Principles.
Until today, we do not find the UAE as a national independent human rights institution that inspects detention centers and prisons or examines the prisoners’ suffering and initiates an investigation towards the grievances and complaints.
Furthermore, the State did not respond to the request of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers to visit prisons and is still delaying the response to the request of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
As it is well known, among the prerogatives of the independent human rights bodies according to the principles of Paris, is to monitor and to follow the treatment of the persons deprived of their liberty in places of detention and preview the abuses in order to protect them from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment as it is stated in the Principle 29 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention and Imprisonment” In order to supervise the strict observance of relevant laws and regulations, places of detention shall be visited regularly by qualified and experienced persons appointed by, and responsible to, a competent authority distinct from the authority directly in charge of the administration of the place of detention or imprisonment.”
The detainee or the prisoner has the right to freely and confidentially contact people who inspect places of detention or imprisonment in accordance with paragraph 1.
- Denial of the right to complain and appeal
Doing a complaining and appealing procedure by a prisoner is a right approved by Article 9 of the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on regulating punitive institutions in addition to the fact that many articles have confirmed the prisoner's right to appeal to the Public Prosecutor and the Minister of interior.
The Principle 33 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states that:
- “A detained or imprisoned person or his counsel shall have the right to make a request or complaint regarding his treatment, in particular in case of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, to the authorities responsible for the administration of the place of detention..”
- “Every request or complaint shall be promptly dealt with and replied to without undue delay.”
Prisoners of conscience, reformists, activists and jurists presented many complaints and grievances about ill-treatment and deprivation of the most basic rights in prison, which affected their health, dignity and humanity in a deliberate and systematic violation of human rights guaranteed by UAE constitution and international charters.
In fact, Emirati authorities did not pay attention into these complaints and neglected them as did the public prosecutor whom prerogatives are monitoring and controlling detention centers and prisons, which demonstrates the complicity between the public prosecutor and the violators of the rights of prisoners.
The special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers confirmed that the failure to investigate into these allegations encourages impunity in a clear violation of UAE's obligations that were made under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment.
- UAE failure to fulfill its pledges made in the second national report for the UPR November 2, 2012.
The ICJAHR confirms UAE failure to fulfill its pledges made during the second national report for the UPR on November 2, 2012 and to adhere by the accepted recommendations including:
- Recommendation No. 29 on the establishment of an independent national human rights institution meant to advise the government and to receive public complaints.
Emirati authorities made no progress in implementing this recommendation despite its confirmation to do so to and to visit some countries to see the comparison and to complete the preparation of a detailed study in this regard.
- Recommendation No. 6 and 36 on strengthening of UAE's cooperation with international human rights mechanisms and accepting international human rights accountability mechanisms.
UAE is still refusing until this date to accept a number of special international rapporteurs.
- Recommendation No. 10 on the continuation of the dialogue with civil society and human rights institutions and the creation of a permanent forum to facilitate this dialogue and provide greater mutual understanding.
However, Emirati government wants a pro-civil society and makes sure to resolve any associations that expose the violations including violations in prisons and incites the prison authorities to torture the prisoners of conscience and human rights activists and abuse them and provides them with immunity and impunity from accountability.
Regarding these rights violations committed by UAE government against prisoners of conscience and human rights activists who are languishing in Emirati prisons including Al Rezin and Al Sadr, and A Wathba jails and who are subjected to torture and ill-treatment and are arbitrarily deprived of their basic rights in flagrant violation of their sanctity and in clear breach of the provisions of the UAE Constitution and relevant international standards, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights in Geneva urges UAE authorities to:
- Immediately release all the imprisoned persons who have called for peaceful reform and resettlement of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the UAE and respect international human rights standards and relevant laws.
- To open a fast and serious investigation by an independent body regarding the allegations of torture and ill-treatment in Emirati prisons which affected the prisoners’ physical and psychological sanctity and to hold accountable all those involved in these violations and to enable the victims of torture and ill-treatment of their right to appeal, redress and repair the damage they have been subject to and work on their rehabilitation within the society.
- To exclude all person involved in mistreating and abusing the prisoners of conscience and their families according to article 18 of the code of conduct for law enforcement officials and article 46 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: “The prison administration shall provide for the careful selection of every grade of the personnel, since it is on their integrity, humanity, professional capacity and personal suitability for the work”.
- To set a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles aiming at visiting prisons and detention centers without prior notice, monitoring violations of the prisoners’ rights and investigating about them and bringing those responsible for these abuses before an independent, fair and impartial judiciary.
- Quickly ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in order to authorize the Sub-Committee against Torture to visit detention centers and prisons of the United Arab Emirates.
- To allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and International human rights organizations to visit Emirati prisons and detention centers in order to see UAE authorities’ commitment to international standards relevant when dealing with the prisoners of conscience.
- To ratify the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols, the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.