Emirates Leaks learned of a dangerous deterioration in the health of a Lebanese detainee in the UAE prisons in light of the arbitrary practices he faced.
Reliable sources said that Lebanese Ahmed Ali Makkawi had been arbitrarily detained in UAE prisons since mid-October 2014, without legal basis.
The sources indicated that he suffers from severe deterioration of his health due to the torture effects he was subjected to, including severe back pain and infections in the places where the fingernails and toenails were removed.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Makawi has been denied contact with his family, who have not received information about his condition, fate or whereabouts.
In 2018, a videotape was released explaining the torture and persecution practised against Makawi. The recording also included an interview with Makawi’s sister and his Lebanese lawyer.
As a result of revealing Makawi conditions in prison, the UAE authorities avenged the Lebanese man by transferring him to solitary confinement on December 17, 2018. They placed him in an underground cell where he could not see the light of day.
Moreover, in March 2019, the UAE Public Prosecution began new legal procedures against Makawi, his sister, nephew, and lawyer.
The prosecution accused Makawi of “defaming and inciting the UAE” based on TV interviews and a Facebook page run by his nephew.
He still has no family visits and can only contact his family for a few minutes and intermittently. While monitoring his calls, he cannot broadly describe his current treatment.
Human rights organizations assert that the use of torture and ill-treatment as a means of revenge against any form of human rights defenders is a fact in the Emirates.
Given Makawi’s history and the fact that the UAE authorities insist on isolating him from the outside world, there are serious concerns about his physical and mental integrity.
On September 15, 2017, the experts of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a decision in which they considered the detention of Makawi to be arbitrary and demanded the UAE to release him immediately.
On December 4, 2016, the Federal Supreme Court in the UAE sentenced Makawi to 15 years in prison based on his confessions extracted under torture.
In Resolution No. 47/2017, UN experts warned that his detention lacked a legal basis and violated international fair trial guarantees.
They considered Makawi’s detention void of any legal basis because he was held incommunicado and in solitary confinement for seven months without being brought before a judge.
The UAE authorities admitted that they did not file charges against Makawi until November 2015, 13 months after his arrest, in violation of his fundamental right to be informed immediately of the charges against him.