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UAE

    November 25, 2016

    Ahead of the season finale of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi this weekend, Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director of Campaigns, Samah Hadid, said:

    “This weekend, as sports fans around the world turn their eyes to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, which is hosting the season finale of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the country’s appalling human rights record continues to escape scrutiny.

    “Do spectators know that behind the glamorous façade, people are being arrested and tortured for voicing criticism of the government? Or that enforced disappearances go unchecked, with families often going months without knowledge of their loved ones’ whereabouts? Or that over 60 political prisoners remain behind bars following unfair trials?

    “The show of fast cars and celebrities is nothing more than a distraction from an ongoing human rights crisis. The UAE authorities should also be devoting their attention to releasing prisoners of conscience and by repealing harsh laws that criminalize peaceful freedom of expression.

    August 12, 2016

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    Two years ago, a nightmare of abuse and injustice erupted without any warning for Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi, who was living with his family in the United Arab Emirates and running a successful business selling household appliances. Security forces rushed in and arrested him at the hotel where was vacationing with his family in Dubai.

    Salim, originally from Libya, appeared to have been swept up in a wave of arbitrary arrests that were connected to wider political dynamics related to the UAE government’s political machinations in Libya. What followed was 645 days behind bars; 645 days of secrecy and abuse. Salim was originally held incommunicado, with UAE officials refusing to acknowledge he was in detention or to provide any details about where he was held. Amnesty was so concerned during those early days that we talked of his case as a “disappearance”. 

    For close to two years Salim endured torture, ill-treatment, untreated medical concerns, unfair legal proceedings, and other human rights violations. 

    June 20, 2016

    Amnesty International welcomes the return of Salim Alaradi to Canada after more than 21 months in illegal detention in the United Arab Emirates. Supporters from Amnesty International welcomed Mr. Alaradi today when he arrived at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, where he briefly addressed media before continuing to his home in Windsor, Ontario. 

    “Amnesty International welcomes the news that Salim Alaradi has been able to reunite with his family and return to Canada.  Amnesty International supporters across Canada had campaigned on his behalf during his ordeal of unlawful imprisonment and torture in the United Arab Emirates,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.  “While he has regained his freedom, he has not seen justice for the serious human rights violations he endured.  Amnesty International will continue to stand with Salim in pressing for redress and accountability for what he has been through.”

    June 01, 2016

    Amnesty International is gravely concerned that Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi is being prevented from leaving the United Arab Emirates due to a travel ban. This week, Mr. Alaradi was acquitted of charges brought against him by authorities in the UAE where he was held in illegal detention for more than 21 months. Mr. Alaradi was held without charges for the majority of his detainment and was denied access and communication from lawyers and family for months after his initial arrest in 2014. While in prison, he was tortured, granted uneven access to consular assistance and denied the right to a fair trial. This week, Amnesty International, supporters of Mr. Alaradi and his lawyers were encouraged by the long-delayed acquittal of charges against him on May 30th and by his release from detention on May 31st. However, after a prolonged saga of human rights violations, Amnesty International is deeply concerned that Mr. Alaradi is now being prevented from leaving the country and calls on authorities in the UAE to rescind all barriers to his freedom.    

    February 28, 2016

    The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) violation of the rights of detainees will come under increased scrutiny over the next couple of weeks as a series of counter-terror trials reach their end, said Amnesty International. 

    Since 2011 scores of Emiratis and non-Emiratis have been arbitrarily arrested using broad counter-terrorism laws.

    “In recent years the UAE authorities have increasingly resorted to using catch-all ‘terrorism’ or national security allegations to arbitrarily detain suspects. In many cases they are held in secret detention for months on end, in some cases reporting torture or other ill-treatment, before being put through deeply unfair trials,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    February 05, 2016

    Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 527 Days

    For over 500 days Salim Alaradi’s family and human rights organizations have been stressing that Alaradi is a political prisoner, a victim of regional politics and his detainment is related to internal Libyan affairs. Today lawyers confirmed that the prosecution file confirms exactly this.

    On January 18, 2016 Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi as well as American nationals Kamal and Mohamed ElDarat, charged in the same case, learnt of their charges for the first time in court. Paul Champ, Alaradi’s Canadian lawyer, described the charges as “bizarre.” Alaradi denied all charges that alleged he funded, supported and co-operated with two Libyan organizations – Libyan Dawn (a Libyan military operation) and the February 17 Brigade (a legitimate military body) which formed during the 2011 revolution and no longer exists.

    The UAE has alleged that both are terrorist organizations but neither entity named in the charges is listed by the Libyan government, Canadian government, US government or the United Nation as terrorist entities.

    January 14, 2016

    Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 503 Days

    After nearly 17 months of detention in the United Arab Emirates without charge or access to a lawyer, the family of Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi has learned he will be prosecuted by UAE authorities. The man from Windsor, Ontario will learn the charges against him at the start of trial on January 18, 2016 before the State Security Chamber of the UAE Federal Supreme Court.

    Alaradi, a successful businessman and father of five young children, was seized by UAE State Security officials in Abu Dhabi on August 28, 2014. Alaradi was held in a secret prison for three months before UAE authorities acknowledged his detention and transferred him to local Al Whatba prison. Canadian consular officials made repeated requests to visit Alaradi, but were only allowed to see him three times during his first year in detention. Local lawyers hired by Alaradi’s family were repeatedly denied access to him until being allowed a first visit this week, only a few days before the trial begins.

    August 28, 2015

    The case of Salim al-Aradi, a dual Libyan-Canadian national who has been detained for a year without charge, highlights pervasive repression by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said Amnesty International.

    Salim al-Aradi has been in detention since 29 August 2014.  He was held in secret detention for several months after he was first arrested and is believed to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in custody. His health is said to be deteriorating rapidly and he has been denied access to adequate medical care.

    "The unlawful treatment of Salim al-Aradi demonstrates the extreme tactics the UAE authorities are resorting to in the name of protecting national security,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “Locking someone up for an entire year without charge is grossly unjust and a very serious violation of their rights. Salim al-Aradi should either be immediately charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence or else released.”

    August 20, 2015

    Fears are mounting that prominent academic Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith could be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment in secret detention since his arrest by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities on 18 August, Amnesty International said.

    “Dr Nasser bin Ghaith’s whereabouts must be immediately disclosed and he must be released if he is being held for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. It is a gross abuse of the legal process to hold him incommunicado in a secret place of detention,” said Said Boumedouha, Acting Program Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “We fear that Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of the country’s State Security body.”

    May 27, 2015

    The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) refusal to allow an Amnesty International expert to enter the country last night to speak at a conference is the latest in a shocking series of incidents highlighting the government’s desire to silence dissenting views and tighten its stranglehold on freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.

    James Lynch, the organization’s Acting Head of Business and Human Rights, arrived in Dubai airport last night only to be refused entry and forced to book a return flight to the UK early this morning. He had been invited to today’s Middle East Economic Digest Construction Leadership Summit (MEED) in Dubai, to speak about the responsibility of corporations to ensure migrant workers’ rights are protected in the massive construction boom across the Gulf region.

    Authorities in Dubai airport gave no justification for their actions, but Lynch said one of the officials held a deportation order which included the Arabic text: “Prevented from entering the country for reasons of security”.

    May 15, 2015

    Three sisters were reunited with their family today after spending three months in secret detention after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities subjected them to enforced disappearance, Amnesty International said. They were detained after posting comments on Twitter on behalf of their brother, a prisoner of conscience in the Gulf state.

    According to Ahmed Mansoor, a prominent human rights defender, the sisters, Asma Khalifa al-Suwaidi, Mariam Khalifa al-Suwaidi and Dr Alyaziyah Khalifa al-Suwaidi, were dropped off at their family home at close to noon local time today.

    They had not been heard from since they were summoned for questioning at an Abu Dhabi police station on 15 February and then taken into the custody of the UAE’s state security apparatus.

    “It is not yet known what pressure the al-Suwaidi sisters were under while in detention, if they were charged with any offence, or if their release carries any conditions,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa programme.

    February 27, 2015

    Three women who have been detained incommunicado for nearly two weeks in a chilling display of repression by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment and must be urgently released, said Amnesty International.

    The women, three sisters, disappeared after they were summoned for questioning at a police station in Abu Dhabi on 15 February after speaking out about their brother, who is a prisoner of conscience, on social media.

    “The authorities are clearly punishing these women for speaking out on Twitter to draw attention to their brother’s unfair trial. Shortly after posting a tweet that said ‘I miss my brother’, Asma Khalifa al-Suwaidi and her two sisters were summoned by police and now have vanished as if into a black hole,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    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.”

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