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Rights group urges UAE to allow prisoner of conscious to attend daughter's funeral

Questions as prominent UAE dissident dies in London car crash
Prominent Emirati dissident Alaa Al-Siddiq, 21 June 2021

The Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre (EDAC) has expressed "deep concern" at news that contact has been lost with UAE detainee of conscience and human rights activist Mohammad Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq.

In a statement, the group said it is believed that Al-Siddiq has repeatedly been held in solitary confinement, adding that "EDAC feels uncomfortable about the health condition of Al-Siddiq … especially after receiving earlier information about the deterioration of his health due to the poor conditions of his detention."

"Preventing Al-Siddiq from communicating with his family is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law," it added, calling "on the UAE authorities to allow his family to contact him and review his health."

Al-Siddiq is a prisoner of conscience serving a 10-year sentence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following his conviction in the controversial 2013 trial against 94 political dissidents known as the UAE94. The notorious mass trial, which failed to meet minimum international fair trial standards, has been widely criticised by human rights organisations and UN human rights bodies.

READ: UAE 'forcibly disappearing' Pakistani Shia

Two years earlier, al-Siddiq had his citizenship arbitrarily revoked as punishment after he signed the 2011 petition calling for legislative reforms in the UAE to ensure fair elections of the Federal National Council.

In March the Emirati authorities revoked the citizenships of his three children, leaving them stateless.

His daughter, Alaa, was killed in a car accident in London last weekend, and EDAC has called on the UAE to release Al-Siddiq so he can bid her farewell, in particular because he now has less than nine months left to serve of his sentence.

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