“My son is facing death and I cannot do anything about it” says mother of one detainee.
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) has received new appeals from detainees and families of detainees held in Al-Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
They contain testimonies describing the suffering of detainees, following the outbreak of Coronavirus in the prison, amidst failure of prison authorities to provide the necessary medical care for those infected and to implement measures to curb the spread of infection.
The family of Jordanian detainee Baha Matar, 39, told AOHR UK, “on May 21, Bahaa contacted us from his detention facility in Al-Wathba Prison and confirmed having symptoms of infection with Coronavirus, as he began to feel very weak with a constant headache, high temperature, and shortness of breath.
Despite this, he was not separated from the rest of the detainees, nor was provided with any medications for his treatment.
Bahaa already suffers from poor health conditions including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other respiratory diseases which doubles his suffering due to the Coronavirus”.
The family of Jordanian detainee Maher Abu Shawareb, 39, stated that, “cases of Coronavirus are increasing inside the prison due to the lack of medical care or appropriate conditions for dealing with the virus, in addition to the lack of isolation of detainees who have been confirmed positive. This resulted in most of the detainees showing the symptoms including headache, shortness of breath, and a high temperature, yet the prison administration did not take any preventive measure”.
The family of detainee A. K. also stated, “my son called us in late May and told us that his health condition has been deteriorating severely since mid-May when he got infected with the Coronavirus and lost the smell and taste senses, in addition to having a high temperature, difficulty breathing and body aches, yet the prison administration completely neglects his condition. They refuse to provide him with any medical care or cleaning facilities, which in turn helps spread the epidemic inside the prison.
My son is facing death and I am unable to do anything.
None of the judicial or security authorities in the UAE responded to our appeals.
He is detained in a ‘case of opinion’, without having any evidence against him and is being tried in a trial that lacks fairness. Why would they send him to his death?”
AOHR UK has received an audio message from the family of two Jordanian brothers, Abdullah and Yasser Abu Bakr, held inside Al-Wathba Prison. They expressed the suffering they are forced to endure due to poor conditions and the heartbreak of being separated from their children and families. This was illustrated by a poignant video of Talia, Yasser’s daughter, crying for her father, having never seen him, due to his being arrested five years ago when she was aged just six months.
In another audio recording, detainee Abdullah Abu Bakr expressed his gratitude to all those who are working on behalf of detainees some of whom are facing death, to bring to the attention of the world the conditions inside Al-Wathba Prison.
He called on activists and human rights organisations to submit appeals to the Jordanian parliament and all concerned authorities, to urge the UAE authorities to release them and return them to their country.
AOHR UK calls on human rights defenders, journalists, media channels, activists, and bloggers to inform public opinion of the cause of detainees in Al-Wathba prison and to assert pressure on the UAE to release prisoners of conscience.
AOHR UK holds the UAE authorities responsible for the health in general of detainees and in particular, with the current Coronavirus pandemic for implementing preventative measures and providing proper medical care. AOHR UK emphasises it is referring not only to Al-Wathba prison but to all prisons throughout UAE.
AOHR UK also calls for the release of prisoners of conscience and all those undergoing unfair trials.