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The voting for this poll has ended on: August 2, 2018


Geneva, 20 December 2017

Following the request of the UAE Public Prosecution, the Federal Supreme Court renewed the arbitrary detention of Osama Al-Najjar, Abdullah Al-Heloo, Faisal Al-Shehi, Badr Al-Bahari and Ahmed Al-Mulla for another six months despite the expiry of their sentence. In fact, all of these activists, who were put in counseling Centers, have already finished their sentence between March and May 2017 and supposed to be released; however, the Public Prosecution submitted a request to the court in order to place them in counseling Centers claiming that they represent a "terrorist threat" according to Article 40 of the Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on combating terrorist crimes.

Article 40 defines the term "terrorist threat," as any person, who has “an extremist or terrorist ideology”, yet, these activists, whom the authorities renewed their detention in Al Munasaha centers, did not commit any terrorist crimes or promote terrorist ideology or religious extremism, but were only arrested because of their human rights activities. The same article states in its third paragraph that “Every three months, the Munasaha Centre shall submit to the Prosecution a periodic report on the person sent to the Centre. The Prosecution shall submit such report along with its opinion to the court. The court shall order release of the person should it find that his/her condition so allows”. None of these activists, or even their lawyers and families was informed about the content of these reports and no new charges were brought against them.

Besides, the law did not specify a maximum period for placement in the counseling centers, but it rather left it open which will allow the imprisonment of the detainees for longer periods and the renewal of their detention without any restrictions. This is likely to be a form of arbitrary detention in the absence of any charge against the detainees to further harass the political opponents in addition to the control of the UAE judiciary by the Executive Authority and the subordination of judges to the executive power in their naming, promotion, transfer and termination.

All of these activists are put in Al-Munasaha centers at Al Razeen prison where they learn preaching and jurisprudence lessons. Indeed, we have learned that counseling sessions for Osama al-Najjar, Abdullah al-Heloo, Faisal al-Shehi, Badr al-Bahari and Ahmad al-Mulla have been completed since a while and there’s no need to further detain them.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) therefore calls on the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Osama al-Najjar, Abdullah al-Heloo, Faysal al-Shehi, Badr al-Bahari and Ahmad al-Mulla after arbitrarily detaining them at al-Munasha center in Al-Rezin prison.
2. Stop putting human rights activists in counseling centers and refrain from deliberately considering them as terrorists who committed terrorist crimes.
3. Promptly amend the Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 in order to make it compatible with international standards and organize counselling centers by regulating their composition and powers and placing them under fair and independent judicial supervision and ensure judicial remedies and other safeguards for all the detainees.
4. Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while countering terrorism to visit Al-Munasaha centers in the UAE to examine and check Emirati officials’ respect to the relevant international standards.