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what do you think about the UPR recommendations to the United Arab Emirates?

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Geneva, May 1, 2018

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) has learned that the authorities of the United Arab Emirates have not released prisoners of conscience Said al-Buraimi and Abdu al-Wahid al-Badi despite the fact that they have both finished their prison sentence on  March 5, 2018.

In fact, Abdul Wahid Hassan Saeed al-Badhi al-Shehhi (32 years old) and Said Abdullah Ismail al-Buraimi (42 years old), (both Emirati nationals), were arrested on March 5, 2013 and subjected to enforced disappearance in a secret detention center for nine months. On March 2, 2014, they were subsequently sentenced by Judge Falah Al-Hajri, Headof the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court, to five years imprisonment in a final judgment for joining and funding a secret organization without having any fair trial guarantees in accordance with international standards.This judgement previously could not be appealed in any way.

It is well known that the UAE authorities are arbitrarily detaining the prisoners of conscience in counseling centers including Mr.Osama Najjar, Abdullah al-Hilou, Faisal al-Shehhi, Badr al-Bahari and Ahmad al-Mulla despite the expiry of their prison sentences and they are also renewing their detention under the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office since March 2017. Indeed, the ICJHR fears that Mr. Said al-Buraimi and Abdul-Wahid al-Badi did have the same fate without informing their families or lawyer.

Besides, the UAE authorities claim that the purpose of putting the prisoners of conscience who represent a terrorist threat in counseling centers is to guide and reform them in accordance with the requirements of Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorism. However, the real reason behind the use of counseling centers, is to cover the UAE’s violations such as the arbitrary detention of activists and human rights defenders and their refusal to release them despite the end of their prison sentence.

Emirati officials also did not provide any effective judicial or administrative remedies for the victims after  the decision of putting them in counseling centers. Additionally, adopting this law on a loose and vague standard such as "a terrorist threat", will facilitate its use against human rights defenders.

Therefore, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights calls upon international organizations, the UNWG on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteurs for human rights defenders, torture and freedom of expression to urgently intervene with the UAE government and security authorities in order to hold them accountable for these arbitrary arrests.

The ICJHR also urges the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Said al-Buraimi and Abdu al-Wahid al-Badi and desist from placing prisoners of conscience in counseling centers and conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into the violations they have been subjected to as well as bring to justice all those who are implicated in these violations and grant the victims their right to redress, reparation and rehabilitation.

  2. To promptly amend Law No. 7 of 2014 in order to make it compatible with international standards and regulate the composition of counseling centers and put them under fair and independent judicial supervision and ensure judicial remedies and guarantees for the victims.