Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) denounced the UAE’s decision to refer 84 prisoners of conscience before the State Security Court in preparation for their trial on new fabricated charges, after most of them have already completed their sentences.
It emphasised that such decision reveals the true ugly face of the UAE regime, which promotes itself as a state of happiness, freedom and prosperity, while in fact it continues suppressing human rights activists, violating international laws and ignoring appeals of governmental and non-governmental human rights organisations calling for improving the human rights situation in the country.
On Saturday, January 6, 2024, the Emirati state media shared news on the orders of the UAE Attorney General to refer 84 Emirati defendants to the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal (State Security Court) on charges of “establishing another secret organisation aimed to committing acts of violence and terrorism in the country.” The new case is nothing but a retrial on the same charges which many activists and opponents have been charged with several years ago, sentenced and imprisoned in the case known as the “UAE 94” group, and they remain in prison to date.
Many defendants in this group have been detained for nearly a decade, and their sentences, which were issued following unfair and politicised trials, have expired, or are about to expire.
They were deprived of their right to a fair trial, as they were arrested for their demands to establishing democracy in the country and allowing more freedom of opinion. They were also tried in a mass trial that included gross legal violations and resulted in harsh convictions against them.
The defendants were also subjected to physical and psychological torture, and some of their families had their citizenship revoked, banned from travel, had restrictions on their visits and were deprived of many services provided to citizens.
This decision comes a few weeks after the end of the Global Climate Summit in Dubai. Holding such global summit in the UAE was a huge challenge to human and moral values, a clear abandonment of the victims and prioritising political, diplomatic, military, and economic interests over respect for human rights.
Before the summit was held, many human rights organisations and human rights defenders around the world appealed to the participating countries to refrain from attending the summit, or to at least seize the opportunity to raise human rights issues, and ensure that the UAE would improve the human rights conditions in the country, release detainees, and allow the freedom of speech.
Nevertheless, some country leaders raised the conditions of prisoners of conscience in general and some cases in particular, including the detainee Ahmed Mansoor, however it remained formal talks only without any real action.
Not only did the Emirati regime ignore the calls, but it also issued the aforementioned decision to further increase the same human rights violations for which the UAE has been criticised.
The most prominent Emirati activist and political detainee, Ahmed Mansoor, is among the 84 detainees and has been detained for about 10 years, during which he was subjected to many violations. Despite all the international and human rights reports on his condition and his arbitrary and baseless detention, the countries of the world ignored his condition, and did not take any measures to save him and others who were subjected to systematic violations inside UAE prisons.
AOHR UK repeats its calls on the international community to put pressure on the Emirati regime to ensure the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience. They have faced great injustice and arbitrarily spent years of their lives in notorious prisons that gave them diseases, and it is time for them to go home, reunite with their families, and be treated like all other citizens and have the same rights.