UAE: Arbitrary detention and torture in the "fight against terrorism"
On 14 July 2009, Alkarama sent a communication to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, asking it to intervene with the Emirati authorities in the case of the persons listed below, who are currently detained arbitrarily and for whom there are fears of torture and ill-treatment:
1. Mr Marwan Ahmed Abdallah Al Naqbi, aged 37, employed and residing in Khor Al Sharhah Emirate.
2. Mr Suleiman Al Rashid Mhamad Naqbi, born in 1978, an official in the public sector and living in Khor Al Sharhah Emirate.
3. Mr Badr Mohammed Jumaa Al Mansouri, 36 years, residing at Khor Al Sharhah Emirate, he is the cousin of Mr Rashid Daoud Al Mansouri (No. 4).
4. Mr Rashid Daoud Al Mansouri, 25 years, residing in Khor Al Sharhah Emirate, he is the cousin of Mr Badr Mohammed Jumaa Al Mansouri (No. 3).
5. Mr Abdullah Hassan Al Hamadi, aged 27, residing at Khor Al Sharhah Emirate.
All these men were arrested on October 1 under similar conditions. Police officers and departments of the State Security (Amn Al Dawla) attacked their homes between 1 and 4 am and entered by force. They were backed-up by helicopters. This operation caused a terrible fright to occupants of the houses.
In the case of Mr Marwan Al Naqbi, the group was composed of about a dozen officers wearing black uniforms. They smashed the door and broke into the home, terrorizing everyone, even children, hitting them, including Mr Al Naqbi himself. The attackers blindfolded him and took him away. They then searched the home, took his wife and daughter's passport, some books, CDs and laptops. They also searched Mr Al Naqbi's car and left the scene with him in tow. No warrant was presented and no reason for his arrest has been mentioned.
Only the next morning when the family went to the police did they learned that the arrest had been made by the State Security. The police said the family could not file a complaint at his level, rather they had to go to the headquarters of State Security.
Two months after the arrests, the families were visited by a commission appointed by the Minister of Interior to take notes on the conduct of the arrest. Its members informed the families that an investigation concerning the arrests would be opened. However, they didn't get any feedback and throughout this period they remained without news of their imprisoned relatives.
Three and a half months after the arrests (mid-December 2008), families were informed they could contact the detainees and visit them if they get permission from the prosecutor of the Court of State Security, but that the authorization was not directly granted to family members. They were also permitted to have a lawyer represent them. Once families had been in touch with them, they learned that they had been detained incommunicado and held in solitary confinement.
To date, no formal charge has been made against the five men and no trial date is set, but they are accused of terrorism, which they categorically deny. They were imprisoned in the detention center State Security Services and then recently transferred to Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi.
The five detainees reported having been tortured, but they are afraid to give details because the exchanges with family members take place through a window and over a phone which is most likely under surveillance. They were forced to sign "confessions" that may be used against them by the court or higher authorities; although no legal proceedings had been instituted against them to date.
We note that the five detainees listed here are part of a group of about 20 to 30 people arrested in the same area at the same time. Some were released, others are still in detention.
Alkarama requests that the five men be released if no charge is brought against them or that they are brought to justice.
The United Arab Emirates is one of the few Arab countries that are not part of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture.