UAE’s Forgotten Mass Trials — Global Issues
  • opinion Joey See
  • Inter Press Service
  • Joey Seer is UAE researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“We would like to be given a chance to present our defense before the death sentence is imposed.” I begged. United Arab Emirates dissident political activist Sheikh Mohammed Al Siddiq during a court hearing in March.

“Intense public scrutiny of this case is necessary if the defendants are to have any hope of going free. The silence of the international community, now and over the past decade, has led us to this situation, where 84 of the UAE’s most outstanding civil society members are at risk of losing their voices forever.”

The trial has been marked by violations of fair trial and due process. UAE authorities restricted access to case files and information, conducted hearings in secret, and violated the principle of double punishment (a rule in international law that prohibits a person from being tried twice for the same crime after he or she has received a final sentence). The judge brazenly instructed witnesses to testify. Most disturbingly, the defendants have repeatedly described abusive detention conditions, including physical assaults, forced nudity, and prolonged solitary confinement that amounted to torture.

United Arab Emirates Authorities Announced The major trial took place as the world’s eyes were on the UAE for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai in December 2023. The timing of the trial, which took place in the middle of an international conference in the UAE, was shocking. promised It will be “the most comprehensive to date.”

This bold timing can be attributed to the impunity the UAE has enjoyed over the past decade, as it continues to crack down on political dissent and civil society while few governments dare criticize the country’s human rights record. The UAE has become a key security ally to many governments and has built strong economic ties with them.

This new venture was launched in 2013 asUnited Arab Emirates94An Abu Dhabi court sentenced 69 defendants to between five and 15 years in prison on charges related to political activism in a mass trial of dissidents.

largely defendant The defendants in the 2013 trial are facing new trials on nearly identical charges. offered Their full sentences have not been disclosed. Human rights activists in the UAE believe the authorities have launched the new cases to detain dissidents indefinitely. Unless allied governments speak out, there is little prospect of a different outcome.

The diplomatic missions expressed concern about the UAE’s crackdown on civil and political rights in 2011 and 2013. In 2013, at least some international organizations Tried Send observers to the trial. To our knowledge, no embassy has sent observers to monitor the trial proceedings.

But the limited scrutiny has been traded for increased economic and security ties. Human rights groups have long called for continued attention to the case but have been met with silence. This silence has emboldened the UAE’s national security services and allowed them to act with greater impunity.

The UAE has long used its economic and security ties to fend off public criticism of its human rights record, but now, more than a decade after the UAE94 trials, the UAE’s Western allies are almost completely silent. During a recent visit to the UAE, diplomatic envoys told us that it was unthinkable, even privately engaging, for the people to voice their concerns about the fair trial violations we had documented.

All governments that care about human rights issues, especially the UAE’s close security and economic allies, should publicly condemn the trial’s abuses and send observers to the July 10 hearing.

With sustained public attention and pressure, the defendants in UAE94 might have been released after serving their sentences, but for political reasons the case was lost and new cases announced.

The 2013 trial Covered Widespread The new incident has received little coverage in the international media. Dedicated Brave outlet Reporters who have followed the trials closely often take personal risks for their staff, but many others do not: Reporters covering the trials can face travel bans, intimidation and deportation.

If the foreign press and diplomatic community do not conduct the necessary investigations, the 84 people may be doomed to suffer for many more years after July 10.

© Inter Press Services (2024) — All rights reservedSource: Inter Press Service


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