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UAE

    November 25, 2014

    The UAE authorities have again shown their intolerance for dissent by handing down a three-year prison sentence and hefty fine today to a 25-year-old man whose only “offence” was taking to social media to call for the release of his imprisoned father, Amnesty International said.

    “With this vindictive conviction following a charade of a trial, the UAE authorities have again made crystal clear that when they don’t like the message, their first line of defence is to smear and silence the messenger,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    In what national media has called a “terror trial” before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court, Osama al-Najjar was convicted of charges including “instigating hatred against” the state, “designing and running a website [with] satirical and defaming ideas and information” deemed harmful to UAE institutions, and “contacting foreign organizations and presenting inaccurate information”. The conviction cannot be appealed.

    November 17, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 18 November 2014

    Scores of activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been harassed, arrested and in some cases tortured in custody according to a new report by Amnesty International that sheds light on the repressive tactics widely used by the government to silence its critics.

    “There is no freedom here”: Silencing dissent in the UAE lifts the lid on the climate of fear that has taken hold in the country since 2011, with the authorities going to extreme lengths to stamp out any sign of dissent, criticism or calls for reform in the wake of the mass popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

    “Beneath the façade of glitz and glamour, a far more sinister side to the UAE has emerged showing the UAE as a deeply repressive state where activists critical of the government can be tossed in jail merely for posting a tweet,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program. 

    July 01, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 2 July 2014

    Nine peaceful government critics are believed to be suffering ill-treatment in an Abu Dhabi prison a year after a grossly unfair trial led to their incarceration, Amnesty International said as it called for their immediate and unconditional release.

    “The only reason these nine individuals are behind bars is because they dared to call for peaceful democratic reform, which seems off-limits in the UAE. They are prisoners of conscience and they must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “World leaders must not prioritize business interests over human rights, by ignoring serious violations in the UAE. They should use their influence with the authorities to ensure all prisoners of conscience are released and their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are respected.”

    March 03, 2014

    The authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must immediately quash the conviction of a Qatari medical doctor who has been sentenced to seven years in jail today after a grossly unfair trial, said Amnesty International.

    Mahmoud Abdulrahman al-Jaidah was arrested more than a year ago over alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood and faced torture and ill-treatment in detention. He was denied access to a lawyer while held in secret detention and given limited access to one during his trial, in flagrant violation of international fair trial standards. He has no right to appeal his sentence.

    “Today’s disgraceful sentencing of Mahmoud al-Jaidah is a farce and makes a mockery of the UAE’s claim to be a progressive country that respects human rights.  He was arrested without a warrant, blindfolded and flung into solitary confinement before being repeatedly tortured, ill-treated and forced to sign papers he wasn’t allowed to read,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    January 20, 2014

    Twenty Egyptians and 10 nationals from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) charged with setting up an “international” branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE, are at risk of being wrongfully convicted following a grossly unfair trial marred by a catalogue of human rights violations, said Amnesty International. All 10 UAE nationals were already tried and convicted in July 2013 following an unfair trial in a separate case.

    A verdict in the case against the men is expected to be delivered on Tuesday 21 January. They are also accused of other vague national security charges including stealing and distributing secret information from the security services or failing to notify the authorities about the theft.

    December 16, 2013

    The UAE authorities must stop their cruel campaign of harassment against the families of prisoners convicted on vague “national security” charges, Amnesty International said ahead of a second trial against 10 of the prisoners that is set to resume tomorrow.

    Some relatives of the 69 government critics, who were jailed after a mass trial in July, told Amnesty International they have been bullied, threatened and stigmatized by the authorities in a bid to silence their pleas for justice.

    “These prisoners were jailed following a grossly unfair trial in which there was no right of appeal, and now their families are also being targeted in their daily lives,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The UAE authorities must end this shameful and vindictive campaign of persecution. Prisoners’ families must not be punished for seeking justice for their relatives.”

    July 02, 2013

    The conviction today of 68 government critics in the United Arab Emirates shows the authorities’ determination to crush any form dissent, said Amnesty International.

    “Not only do the defendants appear to have been targeted simply because of their views, but they have been convicted on bogus charges and denied the basic right to a fair trial. The only thing this trial shows is the fundamental flaws in the UAE justice system,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    The trial was marred by allegations of torture which were blatantly ignored, the rights of defence were flauted, and independent observers were banned from the court room.

    While the UAE authorities have trumpeted that all the defendants have had a fair trial, Amnesty International points out that there is no right of appeal.

    “The slick PR of the UAE is enough to hide the fact that the trial was grossly unfair and that fundamental rights have been recklessly disregarded,” said Hadj Sahraoui.

    June 27, 2013

    United Arab Emirates state security officers have subjected detainees to systematic mistreatment, including torture, say hand-written letters from detainees smuggled out of jails, Alkarama, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    The groups obtained 22 statements written by some of the 94people on trial for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. The mistreatment described in the letters is consistent with other allegations of torture at UAE state security facilities, and indicates that torture is a systematic practice at these facilities. 

    The statements describe conditions in pre-trial detention in varying levels of detail.  Several detainees describe mistreatment that clearly meets the definition of torture as outlined in article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the UAE ratified in July 2012. “I was beaten with a plastic tube all over my body,” one detainee said. “I was tied to a chair and threatened with electrocution if I didn’t talk. I was insulted and humiliated.”

    March 03, 2013

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have denied an Amnesty International delegate entry into the country ahead of a trial of 94 UAE citizens, highlighting serious questions about its transparency and fairness, Amnesty International said.

    The defendants, including at least three prisoners of conscience and many other peaceful activists, are due to be tried with “plotting to overthrow the state” in the UAE tomorrow, 4 March.

    This morning, Ahmad Nashmi al-Dhafeeri, a Kuwaiti lawyer and human rights activist who was meant to observe the trial on behalf of Amnesty International, was denied access to the UAE. The authorities offered no explanation for refusing him entry.

    “By denying access to observers from human rights groups, the UAE authorities are blatantly trying to manage what information is made available about the trial to the outside world,” said Drewery Dyke, Amnesty International’s UAE Researcher.

    Noémie Crottaz, a Swiss national representing the Geneva-based NGO Alkarama Foundation, was denied entry into the UAE on Saturday 2 March. Other international observers will seek to attend the trial.

    February 20, 2013

    China, the USA, EU states and other arms-exporting countries must ensure that any deals brokered at an international arms fair in Abu Dhabi this week do not result in weapons reaching countries where they could contribute to serious human rights abuses, Amnesty International said.

    The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), held every two years in the United Arab Emirates capital, bills itself as one of the biggest arms bazaars in the world.

    This week’s IDEX concludes on 21 February, less than a month before states convene at the United Nations in New York to finalize a historic Arms Trade Treaty where the USA, China and some other states are hoping to get weaker treaty controls.

    Amnesty International has repeatedly flagged how the poorly regulated global arms trade contributes to war crimes and other serious human rights violations around the world and since the 1990s has highlighted the problem of unregulated arms brokering.

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