UAE: “No case number” – Turkish Academic Abducted by Security Services in Dubai

Amer Alshava

On 20 November 2014, Alkarama sent an Urgent Appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances as well as to the Special Rapporteur on torture on the case of Amer Alshava, a Turkish national, academician and businessman who was abducted on 2 October 2014 at Dubai's Airport, UAE. His whereabouts remain unknown to date.

On 2 October 2014, Alshava arrived in Dubai where he was supposed to attend his nephew's wedding. Upon arrival at the airport at 06.30 a.m., he was abducted by unknown individuals belonging to UAE's security services.

After numerous unsuccessful attempts of his family to locate him, the Turkish Consulate's representatives inquired about his fate at the airport as required by the right to consular protection. They were then informed that Alshava had been taken to Abu Dhabi.

However, on 9 October 2014, Alshava's wife went the Abu Dhabi Police Headquarters, to be told that her husband's case was "not in their files", and that his passport number "matched nobody". Few days later, she submitted a complaint to them, which they refused to file, as her husband had "no case number".

After being disappeared for 13 days, Alshava was allowed to make a call to his wife and was apparently forced to say that he was being well treated, and that they only needed to keep him for some formalities for a few more days. However and since then, he has not been allowed to contact his family again.

"Alshava's arrest and disappearance follow the same pattern of arrests conducted by State Security Services in numerous similar cases occurring in the United Arab Emirates in which has become a systematic practice violating the most basic human rights" said Radidja Nemar, Alkarama's Regional Officer for the Gulf. "People are enforcedly disappeared and detained 'incommunicado' for months, before reappearing and tried for merely political reasons. Detainees are systematically tortured and detained in solitary confinement in order to force them to sign false statements that they are not even allowed to read beforehand. These statements are then admitted as evidence against them during unfair trials, violating the UAE Constitution (article 26) and numerous international obligations that the UAE are supposed to comply with, including the Convention against Torture."

Alkarama is extremely concerned about the persistence of this pattern, which underlines the grave degradation of the human rights situation in the country. The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms Gabriela Knaul, declared in a press conference on 5 February 2014 following her visit to the UAE that she had received "credible information and evidence" that detainees were arrested without warrant, blindfolded, taken to unknown places and held incommunicado, sometimes for months.

Alkarama requested the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to urgently intervene with the Emirati authorities to ensure that Amer Alshava is immediately released and that his relatives are informed of his fate and whereabouts in the shortest possible delays and be allowed contact with him.

For more information or an interview, please contact the media team at (Dir: +41 22 734 1007 Ext: 810)

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