Amina Al-Abdouli, an icon of the struggle against tyranny, is the most important witness to the violations that the UAE women are subjected to at the hands of the Emirati security apparatus.
Although the UAE society is a conservative society, considering the abuse of women a shameful matter, contradicting all the meanings of dignity and virility, the UAE authorities did not spare efforts to beat and practice all kinds of human and shameful violations against her and her family.
The UAE authorities started to harass Amina several years before her arrest. In 2012, she was prevented from traveling to perform Umrah, and she was interrogated for nearly three hours by two men and a woman from the State Security Agency. They threatened her with imprisonment and removed custody of her children because of her sympathy with the Syrian revolution. Amina stopped writing and tweeting on social media since 2013.
In 2015, before her arrest, the UAE State Security at the Passport Branch building in Fujairah summoned her and her family members for investigation.
Her apprehension and trial
On November 19, 2015, the UAE State Security forces arrested Amina from her house in Fujairah, without charges or an arrest warrant, and took her to an unknown place.
Al-Abdouli was subjected to enforced disappearance for more than seven months in a secret detention center, where she was subjected to various forms of torture, including being beaten, tied to her feet, blindfolded and deprived of sleep.
Tortured, Al-Abdouli’s right eye was affected by repeated beatings on the face and head by an Emirati female investigator called "Um Humaid", who was trying to exert all forms of psychological pressure on Amina.
On February 9, 2016, Al-Abdouli was forced to sign a written confession under threats and beaings. It is worth noting that she was denied the chance to read it as well as she was denied her right to legal assistance.
On June 27, 2016, Abdouli's trial began before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court, where her forced confession was accepted as evidence. Then, she was informed of the charges against her, including
- Inciting hatred against the state and disturbing public order
- Undermining the reputation of state institutions
- Disseminating false information that endangers the state's relations with its allies, based on the Cybercrime Law.
On October 31, 2016, Al-Abdouli was sentenced to five years imprisonment, a fine of 500,000 dirhams, the confiscation of her electronic devices, and the closing of her email without the right to appeal.
In mid-2018, Amina was able to send a series of audio recordings referring to the poor conditions in Al-Wathba prison, where she is currently being held, and to the violations that prisoners are exposed to.
On July 30, 2019, she was summoned for interrogation at the State Security Prosecution, and three new charges were brought against her although the trial has not begun yet:
- “Leaking false information”,
- “Publishing news that affects the reputation of the UAE and Al-Wathba negatively”
- “Causing problems between countries”.
As Al-Abdouli refused to cooperate with the State Security Prosecution and record confessions, she was placed in solitary confinement in February, 2020, in an attempt to exert pressure on her.
On February 23, 2020, Al-Abdouli began a hunger strike to protest the solitary confinement and degrading treatment. Solitary confinement ended after only four days after one of the female detainees attempted suicide.