موقع إخباري يهتم بفضائح و انتهاكات دولة الامارات

Security Concerns: The UAE’s Justification for Curbing Freedom of Expression

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Emirati human rights groups report that Abu Dhabi’s security services are systematically suppressing freedom of expression and restricting public freedoms under the guise of regional security.

In a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the State Security Service, the Emirates Center for Human Rights stated that Abu Dhabi “employs a deliberate policy of repressing free speech in the name of regional security.”

It stated that the UAE authorities “have harassed hundreds, subjected them to unlawful prosecution, revoked their nationalities, detained them arbitrarily, or sentenced them to prison after unfair trials.” This is part of a coordinated campaign designed to intimidate and silence individuals.”

This coincides with calls from Human Rights Watch, MENA Rights Watch, and the UAE Detainees Advocacy Center for Abu Dhabi authorities to immediately halt the severe human rights abuses carried out by the State Security Service against imprisoned citizens.

The organizations highlighted that State Security agents have arrested, detained, and tortured over a hundred lawyers, judges, students, and intellectuals who signed a petition advocating for democratic reforms.

Over a decade ago, Abu Dhabi prosecuted 94 of these individuals on fabricated terrorism charges in the country’s largest mass trial, known as the “UAE 94.” Of these, 69 were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 7 to 15 years, followed by travel bans.

The organizations condemned the gross human rights violations committed by the state security apparatus and the widespread repression of public dissent through fabricated “terrorism” charges.

The organizations urged the Abu Dhabi authorities to align the legal framework and operations of the State Security Service with international human rights standards and hold perpetrators of violations accountable, as well as provide redress to victims.

The State Security Service, founded on June 10, 1974, is the top authority on state security matters in the UAE. It has been instrumental in quelling peaceful dissent within the country, beginning with the mass arrest campaign against Emirati civil society launched in 2013.

The UAE State Security Service operates in complete secrecy and under the direct control of the President of the State, based on a law that has never been announced.

A leaked draft from the UAE Detainee Advocacy Center reveals that the 2003 amendment to the law grants the State Security Agency extensive and unchecked powers. This enables the agency to operate without any institutional, judicial, or financial oversight. For instance, it can gather and analyze information on “any political activity” and “monitor social phenomena.”

The head of the State Security Service has the authority to place suspects in detention for a period of up to three months and to make any decision binding on all security agencies. The State Security Service is also permitted to establish security offices in any federal ministry, government office, embassy or consulate abroad.

Besides its role in suppressing civil society, the State Security Service has authority over terrorism and broadly defined security offenses as outlined in the UAE’s highly criticized 2014 counter-terrorism law, which equates public dissent with terrorism. UN experts have determined that this law breaches international human rights standards.

The organizations concluded their statement by condemning the gross human rights violations committed by the state security apparatus and the widespread repression of public opposition through fabricated “terrorism” charges.