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This petition has been created by Sofia K. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
As the Dubai Expo launches on 1 October 2021 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under the motto “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future through sustainability, mobility and opportunity”, we the undersigned join over 80 NGOs calling on the Emirati authorities to demonstrate their commitment to these values by releasing all imprisoned human rights defenders and activists.
Pending their release, we call on the UAE to comply with international standards for prisoners, including by allowing regular family visits to the detainees, access to healthcare and regular consultations with their lawyers. We ask for them to be given basic amenities such as a bed, blankets in winter and air conditioning in summer, and for prisoners to be allowed outside their cells to have contact with other inmates in the canteen or the yard, conditions which are notoriously denied to jailed activists.
Among hundreds of prisoners of conscience, the following five individuals are serving grossly unjust 10-year sentences in high-security prisons in Abu Dhabi, where they face torture, inhumane detention conditions and arbitrary disciplinary measures, such as solitary confinement and intrusive body searches. They are solely imprisoned for their peaceful and legitimate human rights work in violation of their right to freedom of expression.
Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati poet and board member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, sentenced on 29 May 2018 for his human rights activities, including his work with UN mechanisms, has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest on 20 March 2017.
Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, an academic and lecturer at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, who was arrested on 18 August 2015, following his online protests about being tortured during a previous detention in 2011, was convicted on 29 March 2017.
Human rights lawyers Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken and Dr. Mohammed Al-Mansoori and professor Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Al-Siddiq, all members of a group of 94 academics known as the UAE94, were arrested in 2012 for their online activities calling for democratic reform. They were tried in a grossly unfair mass trial which concluded on 2 July 2013.
With the spotlight on the UAE during the Dubai Expo, we urge the Emirati authorities to take this opportunity to prove to the international community a true commitment to human rights by addressing the aforementioned human rights abuses, including by releasing all jailed human rights defenders and activists.