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

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Geneva, 15 May 2018

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights learned that prisoner of conscience Amina al-Abduli was subjected to torture and abuse by the UAE authorities during her arrest after that the State Security Service broke into her house and searched all of its contents without a warrant on November 19, 2015. This affected her human dignity. She was later taken, handcuffed and blindfolded to a secret prison.

Besides, she was insulted and threatened that she would  lose the custody of her children and her relatives would be arrested.  She was also forced to stand for long hours as a form of torture and was beaten on the face, head and body parts until she fell on the ground.

In fact, a Nepalese woman  guards Amina al-Abduli, who is being handcuffed and restrained and then returned, after interrogation, to a narrow and windowless room. Here  she was forced to go on hunger strike in protest against her torture, ill-treatment and prevention of contacting her family for weeks. Furthermore, officials ordered her to face the wall in order to humiliate her and they also gave her food without a plate for eating in addition to the fact that she was deprived of walking for more than 6 months.

Consequently, torture and ill-treatment have affected her left eye-sight and Emirati authorities refuse to give her appropriate treatment. Investigators continued to torture her and stopped only  when she signed with her fingerprints on the investigation records and was not allowed to read their contents.

Amina al-Abduli, was further abused inside the women's prison; she was forced to be naked and subjected to humiliating searches by Nepalese and Moroccan women guards. She was also obliged to wear a light blue uniform for a long time, in order to insult her and degrade her dignity, in addition to the fact that both her hands and feet were tied.

Indeed, dirt, bad smells, insects and diseases are widespread in al Wathba prison where the rooms are crammed with prisoners, the heat is unbearable, and the air conditioners are not used. Prisoners are also deprived of healthy food, drinking water and clean blankets. Besides, there is no medical care and numerous hunger strikes and suicide attempts have taken place in protest against the humiliating and degrading treatment at Al Wathba prison.

Judge Falah Al-Hajri, head of the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court, did not care about the case of Amina al-Abduli as provided by her lawyer, Hamdan al-Zuwaidi, in a statement in which he spoke about his client's exposure to torture, which caused her several damages and affected her left eye-sight. Her lawyer also asked for a specialized doctor to examine her, however, Judge Falah Al-Hajri denied her exposure to torture and rejected the lawyer’s request to provide a specialized doctor. He also failed to rule out confessions obtained under torture in violation of the provisions of the International Convention against Torture, which the UAE acceded to in 2012.

Amina al-Abduli did not have any fair trial guarantees and the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court issued a final judgment on 31 October 2016, to imprison her for five years and fined her 500,000 dirhams in addition to the confiscation of all of her electronic equipment on the basis of the Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on terrorist crimes. Besides, her brother Musab Mohammed al-Abduli was imprisoned for seven years and confiscated of all his electronic devices.

In fact, Amina al-Abduli was arrested because of her and her brothers’ posts on social networking sites in which they absolved their father, Colonel Mohammed al-Abduli, who was killed in Syria, of the charge of terrorism.

Amina al-Abduli was also prevented from visiting her brother Musab, who has been in prison for more than a year in violation of her right to maintain contact with her family or friends through correspondence or by receiving visits, in accordance with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under their Protection Any form of detention or imprisonment.

Her sister, Moza al-Abduli, was banned from travelling after her acquittal in addition to the fact that her uncle was forced to sign a pledge not to help them.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights therefore urges the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Amina al-Abduli who is considered to be a prisoner of conscience

2. Open a prompt and serious investigation by an independent body regarding Amina al-Abduli's exposure to torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance for months, and hold accountable all those responsible in these violations and give her the right to reparation and rehabilitation.

3. Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit the women's jail in al Wathba’s prison in order to examine the conditions of the imprisoned women and the prison’s situation and its suitability to the minimum conditions for the treatment of prisoners.