Alert: 7 people are still imprisoned 1 year after crackdown on human rights in Belarus
United Arab Emirates
30.09.21
Urgent Interventions

United Arab Emirates: Inclusion of four human rights defenders on a terrorist list

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

ARE 001 / 0921 / OBS 099
Harassment /
Inclusion on a terrorist list
United Arab Emirates
September 30, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has received information about the inclusion on a terrorist list of four human rights defenders, including Hamad Mohammed Al-Shamsi, Executive Director of the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Shaiba Al-Nuaimi, a consultant in educational guidance, online activist and President of the International Center for Studies and Development in London, Mohammed Saqr Al-Zaabi, a former public prosecutor, former president of the Emirates Jurists Association and member of the Advisory Board of human rights organisation ALQST – a FIDH member organisation; and Saeed Nasser Al-Tenaiji, a researcher and current president of the Gulf Center for Studies and Dialogue.

On September 13, 2021, the UAE Cabinet issued the Ministerial Resolution No. 83 of 2021, adding 38 individuals and 13 entities to the government's terrorist list, including Hamad Mohammed Al-Shamsi, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Shaiba Al-Nuaimi, Mohammed Saqr Al-Zaabi and Saeed Nasser Al-Tenaiji.

The Observatory recalls that the four defenders, who live in exile, were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison on July 2, 2013, for allegedly violating Article 180 of the Penal Code, which prohibits “founding, organising or operating a group that aims to overthrow the country’s political system”, after a mass trial lacking of all minimum international standards of fair trial and due process. Known as the “UAE 94”, this trial led to the imprisonment of dozens of government critics and reform activists in the UAE, including prominent human rights defenders, judges, academics, and student leaders.

On that day, the Abu Dhabi Federal Supreme Court convicted 69 of the 94 defendants, including eight persons who were convicted in absentia, and acquitted 25 of them. This was related to a petition the defendants signed in March 2011 calling for greater democratic reforms within the UAE, including the establishment of democratic elections for all members of the Federal National Council. During this trial, many prominent human rights defenders were sentenced to heavy prison sentences, including Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, who is currently detained.

The Observatory further recalls that on November 22, 2013, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found, in its Opinion No. 60 of 2013, that the detention of 61 members of the “UAE 94” was arbitrary. In June 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders stated that the members of the “UAE 94” “should have never been detained in the first place for legitimately exercising the freedoms that all people are entitled to”.

The Observatory condemns the inclusion of Hamad Mohammed Al-Shamsi, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Shaiba Al-Nuaimi, Mohammed Saqr Al-Zaabi and Saeed Nasser Al-Tenaiji on UAE terrorist list, which seems to be only aimed at undermining their activities and legitimacy as human rights defenders. The Observatory requests that the UAE authorities revoke the decision to include those individuals on the government’s terrorist list and put an end to all acts of harassment against them and all the human rights defenders in the United Arab Emirates.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the United Arab Emirates asking them to:

i. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Hamad Mohammed Al-Shamsi, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Shaiba Al-Nuaimi, Mohammed Saqr Al-Zaabi and Saeed Nasser Al-Tenaiji, and all the human rights defenders in the United Arab Emirates, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

ii. Revoke the decision of inclusion of Hamad Mohammed Al-Shamsi, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Shaiba Al-Nuaimi, Mohammed Saqr Al-Zaabi and Saeed Nasser Al-Tenaiji on the United Arab Emirates terrorist list;

iii. Immediately and unconditionally release all the “UAE 94” members arbitrarily detained, including Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, and all the other human rights defenders detained in the United Arab Emirates.

Addresses:

· Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Email: info@primeminister.ae, Twitter: @HHShkMohd
· Minister of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Twitter: @SaifBZayed
· Chair of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Twitter: @MBZNews
· H.E. Ms. Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: genevaunprm@mofaic.gov.ae
· H.E. Mr. Mohamed Issa Hamad Abushahab, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdom of Belgium, E-mail: consbruxelles@mofa.gov.ae / media.bruxelles@mofa.gov.ae, Twitter: @UAEEmbassyBruss

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of the United Arab Emirates in your respective country.

***

Paris-Geneva, September 30, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

• Tel FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18

• Tel OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39

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