The Center for the Advocacy of Emirates Detainees said six prisoners of conscience in the UAE remain imprisoned despite completing their sentences in August.
The centre stated that despite the end of their sentences, the authorities did not release them and referred them to the so-called “counselling centres” in a new violation of human rights and the principles of the rule of law.
The six detainees are identifed as:
Ahmed Rashid Ibrahim Al-Tabour Al-Nuaimi, with a sentence that expired on August 18, 2022.
Ali Salem Mohammed Al-Ghawas Al-Zaabi, with a sentence that expired on August 20, 2022.
Abdullah Nassib Karama Al Jabri, with a sentence that expired on August 27, 2022.
Abdulaziz Ali Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi, with a sentence that expired on August 27, 2022.
Rashid Khalfan Obaid Sabt Al Ali, with a sentence that expired on August 28, 2022.
Ali Abdullah Fath Ali Al Khaja, with a sentence that expired on August 28, 2022.
This brings the number of prisoners of conscience still detained in Emirati prisons, despite the end of sentences, to 46.
Last July witnessed the end of the sentences of 21 detainees, none of whom were released because they “constitute a terrorist threat.”
The authorities use counselling centres as a means to deprive prisoners of conscience of their freedom after the completion of their sentences, which is a form of psychological torture and a form of arbitrary detention prohibited by international law.
International human rights law protects fundamental rights, including the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of liberty.
According to the UN Human Rights Committee, “If, under the most exceptional circumstances, a present, immediate and necessary threat is invoked to justify the detention of persons deemed to pose such a threat, the burden of proof falls on States parties to show that the individual constitutes such a threat.”
States parties also need to demonstrate that detention does not last longer than necessary, that the total duration of potential detention is limited and that it fully respects the guarantees set out in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in all cases.
The UAE authorities are not bound by any of these legal guarantees, as they practice “indefinite detention”. That is, it is not subject to any specific period and does not include any of the guarantees stipulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Several human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have previously issued statements calling on the UAE authorities to release detainees whose sentences have expired immediately and to stop all forms of indefinite detention, describing what Abu Dhabi is doing as a blatant contempt for the principles of the rule of law.
Last month, the UAE Detainees Advocacy Center called on the United Nations mechanisms, particularly the relevant special rapporteurs, to immediately pressure the UAE authorities to stop this arbitrary detention and to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience.
In its statement, the centre demanded pressure on the UAE authorities to close the counselling centres and to release all detainees who are being held in them and whose sentences have expired.