Calling for the release of all detainees whose sentences have ended

11 MEPs call on the UAE authorities to end the systematic oppression

25 Jan 2022
 11 MEPs call on the UAE authorities to end the systematic oppression

A number of members of the European Parliament called on the UAE government to end its systemic oppression of political dissent by immediately and unconditionally releasing all prisoners of conscience that have been subjected to indefinite detention, in a letter addressed to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The letter, which was written in cooperation with the International Campaign for Freedoms in the UAE (ICFUAE), stated that the number of prisoners of conscience who are still in detention after serving their original sentence in full amounted to nine in April 2021, and that the continued detention of political activists until after the end of their original sentences, without legal basis, is violating both international human rights standards as well as UAE fair trial and due process laws.

The letter added that the UAE authorities, instead of releasing prisoners of conscience after the end of their sentences, are transferring them to the so-called "Munasaha centers" located inside the prison, without charging them or providing them with an administrative or judicial decision specifying any time period for their detention, which makes them unable to appeal.

The letter provided a brief explanation of the nine cases that are still being held despite the end of their original sentences, and they are: Imran Al-Radwan Al-Harthi, Mahmoud Hassan Al-Hosani, Abdullah Abdul-Qader Al-Hajri, Fahd Abdul-Qader Al-Hajri, Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Helou, Abdul Wahid Al-Shehhi, Khalifa Rabia’a, Amina Muhammad al-Abdouli and Maryam Suleiman al-Balushi.

The letter called on the UAE government to ensure the cessation of the practice of indefinite detention, the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience after the expiration of their sentences, and respect for their original release dates.

The letter also urged the UAE government to demonstrate its commitment to uphold human rights and comply with international standards for prisoners by granting indefinite detainees regular family visits, and visits by their lawyers.

For his part, Dietmar Köster, a member of the European Parliament who signed the letter, said that The practice of indefinite detention in the United Arab Emirates is a shocking violation of human rights. Those affected are not freed after their release dates but kept in Munasaha centres. Therefore, these centres depict nothing but a further place of imprisonment and arbitrariness”

In remarks placed at the front of the letter, Köster added: “I join the call for the Emirati authorities to release  the prisoners facing indefinite detention and to comply with international law.”

It is noteworthy that 11 members of the European Parliament have signed the letter, which was published on the website of the ICFUAE.