United Arab Emirates: Woman human rights defender Jenan Al-Marzooqi faces continuous threats

23.05.22

The security authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continue to target woman human rights defender Jenan Al-Marzooqi, the daughter of the well-known Emirati prisoner of conscience Abdulsalam Mohammed Darwish Al-Marzooqi, due to her peaceful human rights activities.

The series of threats began directly a long time ago, when the State Security Apparatus summoned her in 2014 for an investigation which lasted more than three hours and focused on her peaceful online activity, among other topics. She has been threatened that the Cybercrimes Law will be used to prosecute her if she does not stop her online activities.

These threats continued in an attempt to stop her peaceful activities through indirect messages, which she was constantly receiving through some close individuals to the security authorities, or during visits to her father in Al-Razeen prison, where he informed her of the message that they asked him to deliver that she should stop any activity using the Internet.

In 2016, she left her country for the United States, but the series of threats commenced again in 2017, after her work stabilised and she started again her peaceful activism, which focused on defending her father and other prisoners of conscience, including women prisoners in the UAE, and demanding that the Emirati authorities respect their rights as well as the public freedoms of citizens, including freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful demonstration.

After the death of prominent woman human rights defender Alaa Mohammed Al-Siddiq in an unfortunate car accident in Britain on 19 June 2021, and due to Al-Marzooqi’s use of her Twitter account to express her grief over the passing of Al-Siddiq, with whom she expressed solidarity in all her demands to respect human rights in the UAE, Al-Marzooqi was subjected to an intensive campaign of targeting by fake accounts that accused her of treason and made threats and false accusations, including a tweet accusing her of terrorism.

Those close to the State Security Apparatus have repeatedly contacted her, including threatening to return her to the UAE by force whenever they want to.

On 08 March 2022, after participating in a webinar entitled, "Women's Solidarity in Human Rights Activism: Storytelling from the Arabian Peninsula" organised by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) ALQST for Human Rights and the International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE), She received new threatening messages originating from the State Security Apparatus through some sources close to it. These messages include asking her not to talk about any issues related to human rights in the UAE and to stop "insulting the state," as those messages put it.

Threats and threatening messages against Al-Marzooqi continued to intensify. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, mentioned her by name in a tweet stating, "I’m hearing disturbing reports that Woman Human Rights Defender @JAlmarzoqi has been receiving abuse & threats online and offline in retaliation for her human rights advocacy about UAE. I’ve serious concerns for her wellbeing, particularly since her UAE citizenship was revoked."

Despite all this, Al-Marzooqi told GCHR, "When we decided to work in the field of human rights, we knew the magnitude of the dangers and challenges we would face." She added, "We ask God to give us the ability to communicate the truth about what is going on in the UAE to the whole world."

Her father, Abdulsalam Mohammed Darwish Al-Marzooqi, was arrested on 24 July 2012 as part of the campaign launched by the authorities against a group of prisoners of conscience known as the UAE 94. On 02 July 2013, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced him to ten years in prison, followed by three years of probation. He was convicted in a court that lacked minimum international standards of fair trial and due process, on trumped-up charges related to his legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association. In November 2013, his citizenship was withdrawn, and in 2017, the citizenship of his children was also withdrawn.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in its Resolution No. 60/2013 dated 09 September 2013, concluded that his detention was arbitrary, resulting from his exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and demanded his release and compensation.

GCHR declares its full solidarity with courageous woman human rights defender Jenan Al-Marzooki, and condemns the repressive practices that the State Security Apparatus has always implemented as part of its policies aimed at intimidating citizens, including human rights defenders.

GCHR calls on all authorities in the UAE, especially the State Security Apparatus, to immediately stop targeting Jenan Al-Marzooqi in any way. GCHR also calls for the unconditional release of her father, prisoner of conscience Abdulsalam Al-Marzooqi, as well as all other imprisoned members of the UAE94 – some of whom were due to be released earlier this year - and all other prisoners of conscience.