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Prisoners of conscience in the United Arab Emirates are prevented

from receiving any visits and put in Solitary confinement for the most trivial reasons

Geneva, September 5, 2017

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights has been informed that following the prisoners, bloggers, activists and politicians ‘protest and remonstrance against the humiliating and degrading inspection they have been subject to during holy Ramadan and against their exposure to incessant and continuous assaults which affected their dignity and humanity, Al-Razeen prison authorities have deliberately and purposely put them in solitary confinement for the most frivolous reasons including the presence of dust in the room and lack of hygiene.

In fact, the prison officials also prevented both Khalid al-Shaibah and Ahmad Saqr al-Suwaidi, who were convicted among the case of the "UAE 94," from having any family visits without due reason, in clear violation of the prisoner’s  right to visit and the provisions of the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on Regulating Penal Institutions.

Besides, Dr Hadaf al-Owais, Rashid Khalfan bin Sabt and Abdul Salam Darwish have been all held in solitary confinement for several days and Ahmed Saqr al-Suwaidi was put in it because the prison guards found dust in his room.

The prison authorities in the United Arab Emirates deliberately intend to place the prisoners of conscience in solitary cells, some of which are similar to coffins of extreme narrowness and heat, where they will be deprived from any visits or contact with the outside world and also prevented from having the Koran, newspapers, papers and even pens.

Human rights activists and political opponents are still being held in solitary confinement for long periods exceeding 7 days as the maximum limit for solitary confinement under the UAE Penal Institutions Act in addition to the fact that the authorities are denying them the right to appeal and to defend themselves before imposing the solitary confinement penalty in accordance with principle 3 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

The Special Rapporteur on Torture has already asserted that keeping a prisoner in solitary confinement for a period more than 15 days is a prolonged imprisonment and thus it is classified as torture rather than ill-treatment.

The International Center for Justice and Human Rights in Geneva therefore calls upon the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:

  1. Stop violating the rights of the prisoners including politicians, jurists and bloggers of having family visits and stop putting them in solitary confinement without due reason and without enabling them of their right to complain or to defend themselves as well as to treat them with dignity and immediately release them.
  2. Open a prompt and serious investigation by an independent body regarding the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, humiliating searches and the arbitrary solitary confinement against the prisoners in Emirati prisons, which have affected their dignity, physical and psychological integrity as well as their humanity, and hold accountable all those involved in such violations and work on the prisoners rehabilitation and reparation.
  3. Allow the UN Special Rapporteurs, the UN Special procedures and international human rights organizations to visit the UAE detention centers in order to examine the UAE authorities respect to the relevant international standards when dealing with the detainees.

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