United Arab Emirates: UAE: Arbitrary arrest and detention of two human rights defenders, Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi and Dr. Ahmed Yousef Al- Zaabi

30.03.12

Beirut, 30 March, 2012 --  Two human rights defenders, Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi and Dr. Ahmed Yousef Al-Zaabi, have been detained following their arbitrary arrest by  UAE Security Forces on 26 March 2012 at Adnoc station located at the entrance of Abu Dhabi. During the raid, they were surrounded by six cars and their phones were disconnected.  

Dr. Al-Zaabie, who is a former judge and a university professor, was arrested, as he was driving his colleague, Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi, on his arrival back from Dubai. Dr. Al-Zaabie requested the Security Forces to present an arrest warrant that authorizes the arrest and detention of Mr. Suwaidi, which they did not have.

Dr. Al-Zaabie was charged with obstruction of the law for asking the security forces to follow the law of the land. After two and a half hours, during which the two human rights defenders refused to comply with the arrest without seeing a judicial warrant, both were arrested and taken into police custody.

Last year, the authorities in UAE issued a decree revoking the nationality of seven human rights defenders, 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 also Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi.

The seven human rights defenders are currently being deprived of their basic human rights as a result of their citizenship being revoked. They have been denied the right to work and to earn a livelihood as well as the right to have legal status. 

On 25 March 2012 human rights defender Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq was arrested by Al-Sharjah Emirate police. He was taken from his home at 5am on 25 March 2012, after he criticized on his Twitter  account, parts of a speech given by the Governor of Sharjah, Sultan Al Qassimi. He was released after several hours without any charges.

Mr. Nabeel Rajab, director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights said: These recent arbitrary arrests 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 all the activists immediately. 

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights  believes that the arrest of human rights defenders, Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi and Dr. Ahmed Yousef Al-Zaabi is related to their legitimate human rights work, in particular their repeated calls for reforms in UAE. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights also sees these arrests and the revocation decree of the citizenship 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 human rights defenders, Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi and Dr. Ahmed Yousef Al-Zaabi;

 -Immediately revoke the  revocation decree of the citizenship 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;

-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 two human rights defenders Mr. Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi and Dr. Ahmed Yousef Al-Zaabi 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

POB 2838

Dubai,

UAE

Fax: +971 4 3531974

E-mail: info@primeministre.ae

 

 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior

 H.H. Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

POB 398

Abu Dhabi

UAE

Fax: +971 2 4414938

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahya

POB 1 

Abu Dhabi

UAE

Fax: +971 2 4447766

 

Minister of Justice

His Excellency Dr. Hadef Jawa'an Al Dhaheri

POB 753

Abu Dhabi

UAE

Email: moj@uae.gov.ae

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.