05/10/2019

Urgent Action Update: Prisoner Dies of Cancer in Detention (United Arab Emirates: UA 26.19)


On 4 May 2019, Alia Abdelnoor Mohamed Abdelnoor, who was in the terminal stages of cancer, died while chained to a bed in the Tawam hospital in the Al-Ain Emirate, after her health deteriorated. Alia was serving a 10-year sentence on vague and unsubstantiated “terrorism” charges, and which were based on forced confessions. During her detention, Alia was subjected to enforced disappearance, solitary confinement and torture.

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NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 4 May 2019, Alia Abdelnoor Mohamed Abdelnoor, who was in the terminal stages of cancer, died while chained to a bed in the Tawam hospital in Al-Ain Emirate, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On 10 January 2019, she was transferred to the hospital, as her health further deteriorated. Her family was not immediately informed of the transfer and was only able to visit her in hospital for the first time on 11 February.

Alia was serving a 10-year prison sentence convicted on charges including “collaborating with a terrorist organisation based outside the country”. The conviction relied on “confessions” extracted under torture. Following her arrest, security officers interrogated Alia for hours while handcuffed and blindfolded; threatened her with electroshocks and with the killing of her parents and sister if she did not confess. She was finally forced to sign her “confession” without reading the document.

Prior to her arrest, Alia Abdelnoor had been fundraising to assist poor and war-affected women and children in Syria, and some needy families living in the UAE. On 28 July 2015, members of the State Security Agency (SSA) arrested Alia at her home in the Emirate of Ajman. They did not show a warrant. The officers beat Alia and then took her away blindfolded to an undisclosed place of detention. Three months later she was allowed to call her family for the first time.

The State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court first convicted Alia on 15 February 2017 to 10 years in prison under the 2004 anti-terror law and the 2012 cybercrimes law. Her sentence was upheld on 15 May 2017 by the Federal Supreme Court.

Amnesty had called on Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to show Alia Abdelnoor clemency and order her early release on humanitarian grounds as provided for by article 32 of the Federal Law No.43 of 1992.

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