Emirati authorities have retaliated against the families of detainees of conscience by stripping some of them of their citizenship and causing them harm, according to a human rights report.
The human rights organization Alkarama said that the authorities not only repressed activists and political opponents and put them in secret detention centers after unfair trials, but also took revenge on the families of some of them.
The Geneva-based organization pointed to the case of the family of Abd al-Salam Darwish, a detainee, as an example of this policy, as the authorities stripped his children of their citizenship and withheld state benefits to further retaliate against him, despite the fact that three of them needed medical care due to chronic illnesses.
The report said Abu Dhabi informed Darwish's relatives, who had been forced to leave the country on a medical trip to the United States since 2016, by phone of the revocation of their citizenship and asked them to come to the Passports Administration in the UAE to surrender passports and identity documents.
Alkarama added that the authorities asked Darwish's daughter, who was the only one who remained in the UAE, to go to the Passports Administration and surrender her passport. When she refused, they confiscated her ID in 2017 when she went to visit her father in prison and prevented her from traveling to her family in Washington.
Alkarama explained that Darwish's daughter, who lives in the UAE, can no longer visit her father because of the confiscation of her identity. The only way to visit him without ID is to get permission from the authorities. In this case, she has only been able to visit him twice in 5 years, and the authorities have prevented him from visiting since March 2020.
According to the report, the rest of his family, who live in Washington, have not been able to see him or hear his voice since 2017. At that time, he was prevented from contacting them in retaliation for their refusal to return to Abu Dhabi and surrender their passports.
The report also referred to the death of Salman, Darwish's eldest son, after his health deteriorated in the absence of his father, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He suffered from autistic disorders and epileptic seizures at an early age and then died in exile while waiting for his father to return.
The organization said that all appeals by Ms. Awatef, Darwish's wife, to her country's rulers to put an end to her family's years of suffering have been in vain with the authorities, who continue to harass the family and commit numerous violations against them.
The list of violations against the Darwish family is long and includes the family being deprived of their father's pension because he was a government employee, his children being denied access to scholarships because they need permission from the security authorities, the family being threatened with jail if they write on social media about the violations against their father, and the family being obstructed in all legal and official proceedings.