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

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



Geneva, on March 18, 2019


Five years have passed since the arbitrary arrest of human rights defender and blogger Osama Al-Najjar by the UAE State Security forces on March 17, 2014. He was convicted for his Twitter postings denouncing the human rights abuses perpetrated against his detained father, Mr. Hussein al-Najjar, sentenced in the “UAE 94” case.


Consequently, Osama Al-Najjar was tried on November 25, 2014 by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court by judge Mohammed Al-Tenaiji, who sentenced him to three years in prison, a fine of 500,000 Dirhams and the confiscation of all his electronic devices, on the basis of the Federal Law on Combating Cybercrimes.


On March 17, 2017, Osama Al-Najjar had served his full three-year prison term and should have been consequently released. However, he has been kept in custody at the counselling centre of Al-Razeen prison for two years.


The UAE authorities argued that Al-Najjar still posed a “terrorist threat” according to Federal Law on Terrorist Crimes. At the request of the Public Prosecution, the Court ordered his transfer to a counselling centre and extend his detention.


The UAE government claimed that Al-Najjar and those who may represent a terrorist threat to the country, are brought into counselling centres for guidance, reform and to get psychological, social and religious therapies.


Osama Al-Najjar is one of many other prisoners of conscience, arbitrarily detained in UAE counselling centres including Ahmad Al-Mulla, Badr Al-Bahri and Abdullah Al-Helu. All of them remain indefinitely behind bars despite the expiry of their prison terms and are denied judicial and administrative appeal.


The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) remains deeply concerned by the detention of Osama Al-Najjar in a counselling centre despite the expiry of his prison sentence, which clearly constitutes arbitrary detention.


In view of the above, the ICJHR urges the UAE authorities to immediately release Osama Al-Najjar and all other prisoners of conscience who are arbitrarily detained in counselling centres.


The UAE should also amend Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 and bring it into line with international standards. The centre also insists on the importance of regulating and monitoring counselling centres by placing them under the supervision of a fair and independent judiciary that would ensure judicial remedies and guarantees.


Finally, the ICJHR calls upon  the UAE authorities to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and other relevant Special Procedures to visit the country and its counselling centres in order to assess their compliance with international standards.

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