UAE: Free Activists Before Elections
Emirati authorities should immediately drop all charges against five activists imprisoned after calling for greater political rights and freedoms and free them ahead of national elections on September 24, 2011, four international human rights organisations said today.
Amnesty International, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Front Line Defenders, and Human Rights Watch have requested permission to attend the trial of the five if it resumes as scheduled on September 26 in Abu Dhabi’s Federal Supreme Court.
The renewed call to free the activists comes five months after authorities arrested them and later charged them with “publicly insulting” the United Arab Emirates president and other top officials.
“These activists remain in jail and on trial solely for peacefully expressing their political views and calling for greater democratic freedoms,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Continuing this sham trial two days after elections undermines any claim that UAE authorities really want to expand political participation in the country.”
* Published on 22nd September 2011 by Human Rights Watch