United Arab Emirates: Writer Dhabia Khamis Al-Maslamani banned from traveling


Update: United Arab Emirates: On 29 September 2020, the Federal Public Prosecutor in Abu Dhabi informed writer Dhabia Khamis Al-Maslamani that she must attend an investigation against her on a charge of allegedly publishing content that "disturbs national security on social media websites regarding normalisation." In addition, access to her Facebook page from within the UAE was blocked, as well as the websites that mentioned the news of her travel ban.


Reliable local reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirmed that the State Security Apparatus banned an Emirati writer and journalist from traveling, due to her public stance against normalisation of ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel.

On 26 September 2020, Emirati writer Dhabia Khamis Al-Maslamani posted on her Facebook page as well as on her Twitter account, "I am the Emirati writer, Dhabia Khamis. I was banned from traveling today due to an order by Abu Dhabi without giving reasons, from Dubai Airport on a flight on Emirates Airlines to Cairo on 9/26/2020 and mostly due to my declared stances against Zionism and normalisation, and I fear for my freedom and my life from threats and arrests. Report to human rights organisations. Please deliver the message to organisations across everyone and anywhere and hold the UAE government fully responsible for any repression, arrest, assassination or liquidation I am subjected to." After being banned from travel, she raised the question, "Don't they know that the writer's job is to write?"

She was previously jailed in Abu Dhabi for seven months in 1987 for publishing an article entitled "The Cemetery of the Palms" in "Al-Majalla" magazine. After her release, she left the Emirates to live abroad for 30 years and returned to her country only two years ago.

Khamis Al-Maslamani is a 62-year-old writer, journalist and poet who was born in Dubai. She earned her BA in political science from Indiana University and completed graduate studies at Exeter and London University in 1987, and the American University in Cairo in 1994. She has written collections of poetry, fiction books, and literary and non-literary studies such as European poetry, including "The Dictatorship of the Soul" in 1993 and "The Wing of Passion, Women and Creativity" in 2014.

GCHR condemns the UAE authorities for targeting the writer and journalist Dhabia Khamis Al-Maslamani in violation of her right to free expression, and declares its full solidarity with her. The UAE authorities should lift the travel ban and respect all civil and human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and the right to travel unhindered.