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Leaked recording reveals UAE abuse of women detainees

Emirati human rights activist reveals details of abuse against women detained in the UAE in a leaded audio recording

A leaked audio recording is being circulated in which an Emirati human rights activist reveals details of abuse against women detained in the UAE. Mariam Al-Baloushi has been held for years at the state security prison in Abu Dhabi and claims that she is also a victim of such abuse and rights violations.

The Geneva International Centre for Justice and Human Rights released the recording in which Al-Baloushi explains that she was interrogated for three months before being forced to sign a confession under pressure, threats and beatings. She apparently went on hunger strike several times to protest against the UAE authorities’ denial of her right to contact her family, and was banned from walking for three months.

According to the activist, in one of the interrogation sessions she threatened the interrogator that she would complain to human rights organisations and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed about the abuse to which she was subjected. “Bin Zayed ordered me to beat you and gave me the green light,” was the response.

She says on the tape that she has also complained to UAE appeals judge Falah Al-Hajri about the assaults on detainees by security officers and that some have committed suicide as a result. The judge, however, asked her to write to the prison director and questioned the veracity of her claims.

Read: Yemen’s interior minister demands UAE closes secret prisons

The UAE State Security Service arrested Mariam Al-Baloushi, a student at the Technical College of Kalba, on suspicion of financing terrorism after she donated 2,300 dirhams to a Syrian family. She was transferred to a secret detention centre for 5 months, where she was beaten and threatened with rape.

Human rights organisations have warned of growing rights violations in the UAE, citing several examples where people have been stripped of their citizenship; rights activists have had their own rights denied; people have been imprisoned and tortured; restrictions have been placed on freedom of expression; and foreign workers and their families have had their rights denied.

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