Rights team finds UAE detainees well-treated

Arrested members of a clandestine organisation in the UAE have not been physically tortured but are well-treated, said Abdul Ghaffar Hussain, chairman of the Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA).

Addressing a Press conference organised by the EHRA in Dubai on Tuesday, he revealed financial gestures offered by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to the families of the detainees. The President offered an initial payment of Dh50,000 to each family of the detainees, and another undisclosed amount depending on the requirements of each family.

This has been corroborated by the detainees, Hussain said, adding that rumours on social networks and a number of media regarding the treatment of the detainees are incorrect.

Hussain urged the authorites to speed up investigations and trials of the detainees in order to scotch such rumours, saying that delays might leave open opportunities for rumour mongers to indulge in mud-slinging.

He also urged officials to release those found not involved in any anti-national campaigns on the occasion of Eid Al Adha.

Hussain called on the chairman of the Federal Public Prosecution to end interrogation of the detainees as soon as possible and send them to the court to stand trial. “I do not believe the negative reports submitted by representatives of human rights organisations who visit the UAE from time to time. Most of these reports are unrealistic, particularly paragraphs pointing to physical torture, verbal insults and ill-treatment by the security bodies in the UAE,” he said.

A delegation of the EHRA met 10 of the detainees in two visits to the places of their detention, he recalled, adding that the prisoners confirmed to the delegation that they were not subjected to physical or psychological harm, but were accorded a good treatment.

“The prisoners denied rumours posted on social network sites that they were insulted, and said such talk is pure exaggeration,” Hussain added.

He said the EHRA delegation met four detainees during the first visit and six of them on the second visit. Hussain said the delegation noticed the rooms where the prisoners are kept to be very clean and well-ventilated. “A room which housed one prisoner is air-conditioned and has a reasonably good bed,” he said. “The situation of the detainees is generally acceptable.”

Hussain said the food served to prisoners is extremely tasty, and is supplied by a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi.

There is also a TV set in the detention cell and a laundry service is offered around-the-clock. A gym hall can be visited upon a prisoner’s request, but he should be alone and accompanied by a supervisor.

Talking about healthcare presented to the detainees, Hussain said: “It is good.” If a prisoner gets sick, he is offered checkups, medications and whatever follow-up need, he added.

“All what the detainees want is a quick trial since investigation has taken a long time,” he said.

Hussain said that when asked about the delay in referring the accused to court, the authorities said the inquest into the case is not over and the prosecution is making efforts to present everything it thinks is accurate and correct.

He said the authorities welcomed the visits by the EHRA delegation and would not mind such visits in the future.

“Prisoners are dealt with equally and there is no favouritism shown to any prisoner, even to one of the detainees who belongs to the ruling family of one of the emirates,” he added.

“That conclusively implies that civilised treatment has a strong existence in the UAE.”


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