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UAE: Six human rights defenders detained
Beirut, 12 April, 2012 -- The Gulf Centre for human Rights (GCHR) has received information that on 9 April 2012, six UAE citizens, who recently had their citizenship revoked, were detained in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri and Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi had their UAE citizenship revoked in December 2011 along with a seventh human rights defender Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi, for their alleged links to groups that fund terrorists. See previous GCHR two appeals dated 29 December 2011 (http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/50) and 16 January 2012 (http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/56) .
All seven individuals are advocates of reforms and were members of the “Society of Reform and Social Guidance” whose board of directors was dissolved by the authorities. The members subsequently brought a case to the courts seeking for this order to be reversed. Some of the defenders had signed a reform petition, directed at the UAE Head of State in March 2011, which called for reforms in the legislature, including through ensuring a proper election of the National Council and allowing it to perform its role and powers in full.
On 9 April 2012, the six citizens were called by the interior ministry to report to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Abu Dhabi. They were reportedly told to sign a document stating that they were in the country illegally and giving them two weeks to seek another nationality in order to legalise their presence in the country. The six human rights defenders refused to sign the document, maintaining that they are UAE nationals. They were arrested as a result and according to their lawyer Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken they are being held in Al-Shahama jail in Abu Dhabi, a detention centre used to detain those found to have violated immigration regulations in the UAE.
On 26 March 2012 Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi was arrested and remains in detention. (See previous GCHR appeal dated 30 March 2012: http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/104)
In December 2011 the seven human rights defenders were called to report to the immigration office in Abu Dhabi where they were ordered to hand over all forms of identification documents, including their passports, driver’s licenses, National Registration Books, and medical card as well as their National ID. They were not shown a copy of the decree, which revoked their citizenship, nor were they provided with any details or grounds for the revocation.
Mr. Nabeel Rajab, director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights said: "These recent arbitrary arrests of the seven human rights defenders are part of the policy of targeting human rights defenders by the government of the UAE." He added: "The UAE government has to maintain a commitment to all human rights treaties and stop their repressive measures against the activists immediately. "
The GCHR believes that these arrests are directly related to their human rights activities and the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of association. The GCHR sees the revocation of the citizenship and detention of Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al- Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi as a continuation of the trend of targeting activists by the government of the UAE.
The GCHR calls on the authorities in the UAE to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi;
-Immediately and unconditionally revoke the order depriving Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi of their citizenship;
- Immediately ensure that all identity documents are returned to Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi;
-Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in UAE are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights calls your attention to the rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” in particular to Article 5 (b) which states that: “For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels: (b)To form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups;” Article 6 (c) “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.
Please write immediately in English or in Arabic:
• To express your concern about the arrest of the seven human rights defenders Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Dr. Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Dr. Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Mr. Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Hassan Munif Al-Jabri, Mr. Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi and Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi and the total silence of the authorities toward these serious violations;
• To urge the authorities in the UAE to immediately and unconditionally revoke the order depriving the seven human rights defenders of their citizenship;
• To express your concern and refusal to the severe suppression of the legitimate rights such as freedom of expression, assembly, and association by the UAE authorities of its citizens, in particular the activists.
Please Send Appeals now to:
Vice-President and Prime Minister
H.H. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum
Office of the Prime Minister
Fax: +971 4 3531974
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
H.H. Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
Fax: +971 2 4414938
Minister of Foreign Affairs
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahya
Fax: +971 2 4447766
Minister of Justice
His Excellency Dr. Hadef Jawa'an Al Dhaheri
Fax: +971 2 681 5155
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.