Mona Al-Atoum, the sister of Jordanian detainee in UAE prisons, Ahmed Al-Atoum in UAE jails, denounced that her country has "ignored" repeated demands for her brother's release. She referred to the repeated letters from the Foreign Ministry and the Jordanian Embassy in Abu Dhabi "without receiving any response."
Al-Atoum said in exclusive statements to the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre (EDAC) that her brother was "arbitrarily arrested in Ramadan 2019 when masked men abducted him at gunpoint, in front of his children who were left on the street.
She added that the family was not able to find out where Ahmed was being held until weeks later, noting that he was held for the first eight months in "incommunicado detention in an inhumane condition, where he was blindfolded, his legs were tied, and he was constantly tortured."
Al-Atoum confirmed that the UAE authorities prevented him from visiting, and did not allow his wife to see him until a year and 5 months, after addressing international organizations in order to allow to visit, noting that "visits to him are currently prohibited, and he is only allowed to do paid calls."
Al-Atoum demanded from Abu Dhabi the release of her brother, who was subjected to an "unfair trial", and "serious and false charges were fabricated against him, as his lawyer was not allowed to meet him, and his defense pleading was written in coordination with the UAE authorities, which "turned the trial into a farce."
Al-Atoum reiterated her demand for the Jordanian authorities to take action to release her brother, who said that he is being held in “bad conditions which amount to torture, as he faces constant provocation and psychological warfare from the prison administration, and was denied his most basic rights to see his wife and children.”
It is noteworthy that the UAE authorities arrested Al-Atoum on May 15, 2019 due to his Facebook posts criticizing the Jordanian government, and charged him with “disturbing relations with a foreign country and spreading news that affects state security.” He was sentenced to ten years in prison and deportation from the country.
On December 17, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) issued Opinion No. 53/2021 regarding the case of Al-Atoum, in which it considered Abu Dhabi's arrest of him "arbitrary detention without legal basis", calling on the UAE authorities to release him immediately and compensate him.
At the end of the opinion, UNWGAD concluded that the UAE authorities have deprived Al-Atoum of his freedom in violation of Articles 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 (1) and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and are arbitrarily detaining him in the first, second and third categories.
UNWGAD pointed out that Abu Dhabi “failed” to establish a legal basis for the detention of Al-Atoum, and that it was “due to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression,” which makes his detention “arbitrary according to the first three categories of arbitrary detention.”