UAE: Prisoners of conscience deteriorating...
- The UAE authorities continue to violate the rights of prisoners of conscience inside Al-Razeen prison through arbitrary punitive action and degrading treatment. In the most serious form of mistreatment, the prison administration denied prisoners blankets and warm clothing during winter forcing them to endure the harsh cold season.
They also prevented families of the detainees from admitting necessary winter clothes to them which makes the prisoners easily vulnerable to cold diseases and what increases their suffering is the lack of necessary medical care. What intensifies the sufferings of the prisoners’ families is that Al-Razeen prison is located in the middle of the desert, at about 120 km away from Abu Dhabi, making it very difficult for families to reach the facility. They are also forced to wait for long hours before entering for the visit.
The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights said in a recent statement that "exposing detainees to extreme temperatures without providing adequate clothing falls clearly under the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments". Prison authorities’ denial of warm clothes to detainees suffering from cold winter weather is another blatant violation of human rights and the UAE must stop such practice by providing the necessary clothes and accommodations that appropriate for the weather.
- Rights groups have expressed grave concerns over the well-being of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor who has been detained since 2017 in UAE. Mansoor remains on a liquid-only hunger strike that he began in September 2019 to protest ill-treatment and bad conditions in Al-Sadr prison.
According to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Mansoor has been psychologically abused and could no longer walk, since he continues the liquids-only hunger strike that he started five months ago. He also still has no mattress, no sunshine, and no books or television.
Cruel and inhumane treatment led Mansoor to launch two hunger strikes, the first one was on 17 March 2019 and he ended it after for 4 weeks when the authorities permitted him to phone his sick mother and to go outside in the sun for the first time. The rights group said that on 10 December 2019, after Mansoor began his hunger strike in September, he was forced to eat every few days by the guards, but they stopped force-feeding him and he was on continuous hunger strike from 14 September onwards, taking only fluids.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and GCHR have urged the UAE authorities to release Mansoor immediately and to ensure he will be provided with adequate health care and with the basic necessities, such as a bed with a mattress, exercise and sunshine accordance with international law.
Ahmed Mansoor was convicted on 29 May 2018 of “insulting the ’status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols’ including its leaders” and of “seeking to damage the relationship of the UAE with its neighbours by publishing false reports and information on social media.” He was sentenced by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court to ten years’ imprisonment, followed by three years of surveillance and a fine of 1,000,000 Emirati Dirhams (around USD $270,000).