Torture in UAE
The issue of the continuing and methodological torture of prisoners of conscience in the UAE takes a new decisive turn. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights published a detailed report not only outlining the documented torture processes carried out but also listing the names of those who are involved in the brutal torture processes. So, who are these senior security and political personalities that are embroiled in torturing the children of the UAE and are named in the report that will be released today (12 March, 2015) at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva?
The methodology of the report
The documents relied on by the report comprise a complaint against the Federal State Security in the United Arab Emirates accusing it of fabricating official documents and of failing to investigate crimes of torture and of denying detainees their legal rights according to UAE law.
Initially, the documents were verified. Then international human rights lawyer Jeremy Armstrong under the supervision of law professor David Akerson and research coordinator Clair Noon tabled the results deduced from the documents. Fourteen research associates from the School of Law at Denver University complied, analysed and edited all the attached documents that detail the incidences of abuse to which 57 detainees were subjected. This work provides the report with a high degree of credibility and authenticity in terms of content, conclusions and recommendations and in terms of exposing the senior officials who are proven to have been embroiled in torturing and abusing, in a variety of ways, the prisoners of conscience.
Content of the report
“The UAE should be called to account because of the human rights violations perpetrated against rights defenders and activists.”
The report on torture and the mistreatment of inmates in UAE prisons includes details of testimonies and evidences collected from 57 prisoners, 50 of whom are still being held in prison. According to Khalid Ibrahim, programme director at the Gulf Centre for Human Rights: “The UAE should be called to account because of the human rights violations that are perpetrated against imprisoned human rights defenders and activists. This report tells, quite loudly, the stories of human rights defenders who are detained behind prison bars and tells the stories of the torture and oppression they are subjected to and the shackles imposed on them.”
This report, which was prepared by a team of lawyers, details the torture and mistreatment of 94 UAE prisoners inside the Emirates’ prisons since they were detained and prosecuted in 2013.
The 54-page report covers the incidents that took place since the first wave of detentions in March 2012 until 2014 in various prisons (from the secret detention centres to the prisons of Al-Sadr, Al-Wathba and Al-Razin). It also described in detail the kind of treatment the detainees received in the locations of their detention (whether in solitary confinement or as groups). Additionally, it documents the level of rights permitted by the state authorities. The report includes a complaint – noted in document number 13 – lodged against the Federal State Security in the UAE because official documents had been fabricated and crimes of torture had not been investigated, while detainees were denied of their legal rights in accordance with UAE law.
Results of the torture report
The conclusions of the report are detailed below:
First: There is a wide ranging set of human rights violations that have adopted different forms. These included inhumane practices such as the use of torture by the authorities in order to obtain confessions. As a result, detainees sustained physical pain as well as severe psychological harm.
Second: The mistreatment and abuse to which detainees were subjected include holding them in inhuman conditions inside prisons, sexual harassment, lack of adequate medical care, deprivation of the right to appropriate legal defence, the use of the media to attack them and tarnish their reputations publicly and preventing them from communicating with their families in an acceptable way.
The culprits who perpetrate torture
There will be no more protection or immunity for anyone who dares violate human rights.
This report is unique in that it explicitly names those who are embroiled in the torture processes. In this way, these perpetrators may be pursued for prosecution locally and internationally for the crimes of torture they have committed. These crimes do not expire with time.
One of the names mentioned in the report is that of Interior Minister Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Sheikh Khalid Bin Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, head of the State Security Agency, and Hamad Al-Shamsi, director of the State Security Agency. These are the most senior officials who are implicated in the torture, according to the human rights report.
The second rank of those embroiled in torture are all implicated for their associated legal responsibility for the continuing act of torture against the prisoners of conscience. They are:
- Yousef Al-Ibri, former Abu Dhabi Prosecutor General;
- Saqar Al-Naqbi, Prosecutor General of the Federal State Security;
- Muhammad Saif Al-Zuabi, Director of Prisons at Abu Dhabi Police;
- Ahmad Al-Danhani, head of the State’s Prosecution;
- Abdel Mun’im Al-Sayyid Khalil, State Security Prosecutor General;
- Salim Kabish, Federal Prosecutor General;
- Suhail Matar, director of Al-Razin Prison;
- Tariq Hamad Al-Muqbali, Al-Razin Prison officer;
- Officer Ahmad Abdullah, who is lieutenant.
In addition to the above, the report alludes to two officers whose identities have not been confirmed despite their physical description being provided to allow them to be identified.
The list of those accused includes Salim Hamid, director of Al-Mezmaah Studies and Research Centre. Although Hamid is a director of a studies centre, his involvement is not surprising. According to observers, the UAE list of terrorist organisations included scores of research centres that were branded “terrorist organisations” under the pretext of fighting the roots, initiators and ideologues of terrorism. Hamid is well known for inciting against the prisoners of conscience using his centre. Observers say the centre is nothing but a State Security research and studies centre. He also used his almost daily columns in the UAE press to incite against the detainees and their families. His methods at times even exceed what may be described as incitement.
These are the culprits, where is the accountability?
The report explained that the state has failed to investigate the incidences of torture. How is it then to be expected to bring these perpetrators to justice or at least question them? The state’s judiciary and the feeble National Council are all circling within the state’s orbit and do not dare take any action in order to prosecute and punish those responsible for the torture, which is considered to be a crime nationally, morally and religiously.
The people of the UAE have not sold their children to the security agencies and will never sacrifice their children for the defeated security officers. The people will not hesitate to pursue all those who are responsible for torturing and persecuting their children. Torture is a mark of shame in the forehead of the police authorities who are inflicting immense harm on the entire state in terms of its reputation, its image, its present, its future and even its history.
No matter how delayed the process of accountability at the internal level, the crimes of torture and the pain they incur will persist forever in the psyche of the Emirati people and of the future generations until the violators of human rights and those who run these prisons away from the eyes of the law and justice and in total disregard for the constitution pay for their crimes, which they perpetrated against all the Emiratis no matter for how long the law remains absent or remains ignored.
This human rights report sets the ground for a new era that will see the taking of legal action against the perpetrators. As a result they will remain under siege within the borders of the UAE since they will be wanted in human rights abuse cases across the world.
There will be no more protection or immunity for anyone who dares violate human rights.
Anyone embroiled in these crimes, no matter how senior in rank or prominent in class, will find no person or place to provide him with shelter or immunity. This applies to anyone who humiliated the people of the UAE or violated their dignity. Nor will the State Security Agency be of any good to anyone who is indicted with these crimes; after all, this is an agency that is incapable of providing protection for itself let alone for others .