UAE: Two Qatari Citizens Arbitrarily Detained With High Risk of Torture

On 30 September 2014, Alkarama submitted an urgent appeal to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the case of two Qatari nationals who have been detained incommunicado since their arrest on 27 June 2014 by United Arab Emirates' police.

Youssouf Abd Al Ghani Ali Al Mala and Hamed Ali Mohamed Ali Al Hamadi have been arrested whilst crossing the border with their car to enter the United Arab Emirates (UAE) territory for tourism purposes. According to witnesses, the two men were arrested by the UAE's police after revealing their citizenship at the Ghuwaifat point of entry in the Western region of Abu Dhabi, which borders Saudi Arabia. The witnesses also reported that the police did not show any arrest warrant or give any reason for his arrest.

Since then, their respective families have not been able to call them and their whereabouts are still unknown. In front of the silence of the UAE's authorities, the families required the Qatari authorities including the National Human Rights Committee, the Ministry of foreign Affairs and the Consulate in Abu Dhabi to intervene with UAE's authorities. To this date, the Emirati authorities have been unwilling to provide information about the official reasons of Al Mala's and Al Hamadi's arrest or their location.

Because of the secret nature of the detention and the absence of any legal procedure, the families have been unable to ask for the help of a legal counsel in the UAE in order to request information about the faith of their relatives and have thus been prevented from providing them with any form of legal assistance.

"This sort of practice, called 'incommunicado detention' is a clear violation of numerous human rights", says Radidja Nemar, the Regional Legal Officer for the Gulf at Alkarama Foundation. "Indeed, incommunicado detention is not only a form of enforced disappearance, it is also amounting to torture, inhumane and degrading treatment. The UAE are clearly violating their international obligation as a party to the Convention against Torture."

Following the previous documentation of numerous cases of arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention and torture in the UAE, Alkarama expressed serious concerns regarding the physical and psychological integrity of the two Qatari men who may be forced to sign false confessions under torture, which are likely to be used by the UAE's authorities to justify their detention. This practice is becoming increasingly common especially against citizens of countries with whom the UAE have political disagreements.

Therefore, Alkarama wrote to the WGEID to intervene with the UAE's authorities to ask for release or, at the very least, the end of Youssouf Abd Al Ghani Ali Al Mala and Hamed Ali Mohamed Ali Al Hamadi's incommunicado detention. Moreover, since the UAE are a party to the Convention against Torture , Alkarama asked the Special Rapporteur on torture to ensure that any forced confession be deemed inadmissible before a court. Finally, Alkarama asked for the guarantee of their physical and mental integrity along with their right to consular protection.

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