bannerHomeENbanner 01

Choose Language:

WEB POLL

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

 zaabi

Geneva, 22 December 2017


The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) has learned that the UAE authorities have just released prisoner of conscience Obaid Yousef Al-Zaabi on 21 December 2017 after four years of arbitrary detention. In fact, Obaid al-Zaabi was arrested on December 12, 2013 following his statements on the US channel CNN in which he spoke about his activities on Twitter to express his opinion, to condemn the torture practices made by the government and to defend human rights and the rights of prisoners of conscience.

Indeed, after seven months of detention, Mr. Obaid Al-Zaabi was referred to the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi and acquitted of all charges by the judge who ordered his release on 23 June 2014. However, the State Security Apparatus refused to execute the court’s decision and continued to arbitrarily detain Obaid Al-Zaabi in Khalifa Medical City Hospital claiming that he suffers from psychological disorders that require urgent treatment. Despite numerous appeals from international organizations and UN bodies, the State Security Services refused to release him until December 21, 2017.

The ICJHR has already submitted a communication to the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders and freedom of expression in addition to the WGAD in April and September 2016 demanding the questioning of the UAE government about the detention and denial of visit for Obaid Al-Zaabi (ARE 1/2016, A / HRC / 33/32). Yet, the UAE authorities responded to the letters of the Special Rapporteurs on 20 June 2016 claiming that Al-Zaabi "is not imprisoned for any criminal cause and has already been acquitted of all the charges against him, but he is still in the psychiatric hospital because he was allegedly diagnosed with a bipolar mental disorder and he is given the necessary treatment in addition to the fact that his health situation has improved and he is also allowed to have family visits.” Indeed, despite the improvement of his condition, the authorities kept Obaid Al-Zaabi detained at Khalifa Medical City Hospital until December 21, 2017, although it is not a medical center specialized in the treatment of mental illness.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights lauds this positive step taken by Emirati authorities and therefore calls them to hold accountable all those responsible for the arbitrary detention of Obaid Al-Zaabi for years and for restricting his freedom and refusing to release him despite his acquittal.

The ICJHR also insists on the need to conduct an independent investigation into the detention conditions of Obaid Al-Zaabi, the allegations of torture and the reasons behind his psychological deterioration and whether the conditions of detention and torture were a cause of his health status.