The former detainee, who prefers not to be named, said in a statement given to Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) that he witnessed al-Balushi and al-Abdouli being tortured and physically assaulted by members of the Emirate security services. The torture left physical marks, the former detainee said.
The conditions of the two detainees and other prisoners of conscience are very poor, the same source said. Cells are so dirty that they are not fit for human habitation, and detainees are medically neglected.
“The longer they are detained, the longer prisoners suffer a slow death. They lose their senses as a result of torture and the inhumane conditions”, the source said.
The official media’s presentation of trials for prisoners-of-conscience is “is a straight lie. They [the trials] are nothing more than plays. The charges are baseless; the rulings are pre-decided.”
Emirati authorities refuse to release al-Balushi, a student whose sentence ended more than 10 months ago.
Al-Balushi has been held in UAE prisons since 19 November 2015, when she was arrested in her home. She was then incommunicado for five months, during which she was subjected to torture and another mistreatment.
She was sentenced in 2017 to five years in prison for “funding terrorism.” On 30 July 2020 fresh charges were brought against al-Balushi, following her efforts to raise public awareness of her case through sharing voice messages. She is held in al-Wathba Prison.
Amina al-Abdouli’s sentence expired last November, though the Emirati authorities refused to release her. Al-Abdouli’s five children are waiting for their mother to be released.
Al-Abdouli was also arrested in her home on 19 November 2015 and held in secret for seven and a half months. She too was subjected to torture and another mistreatment.
In 2016, she was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly sharing posts on Twitter.
As with al-Balushi, new charges were brought against al-Abdouli on 30 July 2020 after her own efforts to raise public awareness of her case. She is also being held in al-Wathba Prison.
International human rights groups accuse the UAE regime of detaining hundreds of people merely for expressing opinions, often using terrorism-related allegations. The UAE continues to hold dozens of detainees even after their sentences have expired, in clear violation of international law and of detainees’ rights to freedom after the expiration of their sentence.
AOHR UK has launched a campaign of solidarity with female detainees in Emirati prisons, with the aim of shedding light on their suffering and putting public pressure on the Emirati regime to release them, with prison conditions posing an imminent threat to their lives.