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UAE keeps prisoners of conscience jailed beyond their sentence

UAE prisoner Abdulla Al-Hajri [AmnestyUAE/Twitter]
UAE prisoner Abdulla Al-Hajri [AmnestyUAE/Twitter]

Five prisoners of conscience are being held by the UAE despite having completed their seven-year sentences.

Four of the detainees, who were jailed following the controversial mass trial commonly referred to as UAE94,  were all due to be released on 16 July 2019, however remain behind bars nine months later, the International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE) said in a press release today. The rights group named the men as: Abdulla Al-Hajri, Omran Al-Harethy, Mahmoud Al-Hoseny and Mansour Al-Ahmady.

While Fahad Al-Hajri's sentence was due to end last month, however he has yet to be released.

ICFUAE said in a statement, "We call on the Emirati government to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, particularly those held beyond their release dates and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which prisoners remain one of the most vulnerable groups of people to the disease."

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The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights noted that prisoners of conscience are being subjected to ill-treatment in Al-Razeen prison amid difficult detention conditions including overcrowding, poor hygiene, very high temperatures and inadequate food and water.

They join other prisoners who have been indefinitely detained in Abu Dhabi's notoriously repressive Al-Razeen prison including: Ahmed Almolla, Faysal Elshoh, Othman Elshoh, Abdelwaheed Elshoh, Abdullah Elhelw, Said Elbrimy and Kalifa Rabiaa. All those named have served their sentences in full.

In January 2013, the 94 intellectuals, activists, and human rights defenders were accused of plotting and founding an organisation aimed at overthrowing the government, a charge which they all denied. Some were handed seven-year terms while others received prison sentences of ten years.

The beginning of this case, in February 2012, was characterised by late night raids on homes by plain-clothed security services arresting people without warrants.

According to the Huffington Post, it is these same security officials that are accused of torturing prisoners during their pre-trial detention.

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