[This report was originally published by the Emirates Centre for Human Rights on 2 August 2013.]
UAE Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike in Protest at Continued Mistreatment
At least five of the sixty-one prisoners convicted of sedition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have begun a hunger strike in what they claim is a protest at continued mistreatment by authorities.
The hunger strike, which began on 31 July, is said to be a protest against alleged beatings, severe restrictions on family visits, and the banning of group prayer for prisoners.
Other complaints include authorities turning off air conditioning as temperatures rise above forty degrees Celsius, along with covering windows to stop prisoners seeing sunlight.
Those on hunger strike include Dr. Mohamed al-Mansoori, a respected human rights lawyer and former advisor to the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, who claims to have had his shoulder dislocated by prison guards.
Salim Hamdoon al-Shehhi, Mohamed al-Abdouli, Ali al-Kindi, and Najeeb Amiri are also confirmed to be on hunger strike.
All five are serving ten-year prison sentences after being convicted in the UAE 94 trial, which was described as "fundamentally unfair" and saw credible allegations of torture go without investigation.
Rori Donaghy, Campaign Manager for the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, said:
“This hunger strike demonstrates that the suffering of these men is continuing even after their conviction. Rather than abusing peaceful political activists, authorities should release these people and investigate allegations of mistreatment in an independent and impartial manner. A hunger strike by religious men during the holy month of Ramadan indicates the seriousness of their anger at alleged mistreatment by authorities.”
We call on the international community to demand Emirati authorities respect the human rights of all citizens, investigate allegations of torture, and hold perpetrators to account in accordance with international law.
For further information, please contact Rori Donaghy on +447850062105 or at email@example.com