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UAE: Human rights defenders arrested in crackdown by security forces
Beirut, 17 July 2012-- The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received information that a major crackdown against human rights activists is taking place at the hands of the security forces of Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai, and Sharjah. On 16 July 2012, a number of human rights defenders and advocates of reform were arrested in Abu Dhabi under orders of the Public Prosecutor. Their arrests are reportedly linked to unfounded allegations that they are part of an organisation that poses a threat to national security.
The arrests took place at the homes and places of business of the human rights defenders the day after the Public Prosecutor made a statement claiming that a conspiracy that threatened State security had been discovered. Those arrested to date are active in calling for reform on social media websites such as Twitter and include members of the Reform organisation Islah. Among those arrested are the President of the Emirates Centre for Studies and Information Dr. Mohamed Al-Mansoori, Director of the Centre for the memorisation of the Koran Abdulrahman Al-Hadidi, writer Rashid Al-Shamsi, administrative trainer Dr. Husain Al-Najjar, youth activist Omran Al-Radhwan, activist Khaled Al-Shibah Al-Naimi; prominent human rights lawyer Dr. Mohamed Al-Roken, his son Rashid and his brother in law, Abdulla Al-Hajeri.
As part of the crackdown, security forces raided the homes of human rights defenders Dr. Ibrahim Al-Yasi and Khalifa Al-Naimi and spent several hours searching the properties before arresting both men. It is suspected that more individuals have been arrested or are at risk of being arrested.
It is reported that those arrested are currently in preventive detention and are being investigated for establishing and managing an organisation with the aim of committing crimes that harm state security. The charges that they may face include “opposing the constitution and the basic principles of the UAE ruling system”, and having links and affiliations to organisations with foreign agendas. It is feared that the authorities are using such baseless allegations as grounds for arresting the human rights activists in an attempt to hinder their peaceful human rights work.
The GCHR expresses serious concern at the arrests of the human rights defenders in the UAE. The GCHR believes that the allegations made against the human rights defenders are being used as a tool to silence them and to impede their legitimate and peaceful human rights work and the exercise of their right to freedom of expression.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) urges the authorities in UAE to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Mohamed Al Mansoori, Abdulrahman Al-Hadidi, Rashid Al-Shamsi, Dr. Husain Al-Najjar, Omran Al Radhwan, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Yasi, Khalifa Al-Naimi, Dr. Mohamed Al-Roken, his son Rashid and Abdulla
Al-Hajeri and all other human rights defenders as GCHR believes that they have been detained solely as a result of their legitimate human rights work;
- Ensure that no more human rights defenders are deprived of their liberty as a result of their human rights work;
- Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Dr. Mohamed Al-Mansoori, Abdulrahman Al-Hadidi, Rashid Al-Shamsi, Dr. Husain Al-Najjar, Omran Al-Radhwan, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Yasi, Khalifa Al-Naimi, Dr. Mohamed Al-Roken, his son Rashid and Abdulla
Al-Hajeri and all other human rights defenders who are being detained;
- 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 GCHR respectfully reminds you that 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, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (b and c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (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): “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 aforementioned human rights defenders and demanding their immediate release;
• To urge the authorities in the UAE to immediately stop targeting of human rights defenders;
• 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
Minister of Justice
United Arab Emirates
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.