NGOs have voiced renewed concern about the UAE’s treatment political opposition and other activists, including the enforced disappearance of political exiles like Abdulrahman bin Subaih. Bin Subaih fled to Indonesia after Emirati security forces began to arrest the signatories of a petition calling for an independent judiciary and elections in the UAE. He was seeking political asylum when Indonesian authorities, in cooperation with the Emirati government, detained him and deported him back to his home country. Bin Subaih has since disappeared. News reports indicate that bin Subaih “has had no access to his family and hasn’t been brought before the courts.” His exact whereabouts are unknown.
The UAE has disappeared other activists as well, including Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, a human rights defender and economics professor. Authorities bin Ghaith in August 2015 but have failed to disclose his whereabouts or even acknowledge his arrest. Government forces had previously detained him in 2011 after he called for economic, political, and social reform. In November of that year an Emirati court sentenced him to a two-year prison term after “insulting the leadership” of the UAE, though he was later pardoned. It has now been over a 100 days since bin Ghaith was last seen or heard from.
Margaret Bailey is an Advocacy Intern at ADHRB.