The Emirati authorities’ commencement of a mass trial involving over 80 Emiratis, including prominent human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, has sent shockwaves globally. The trial coinciding with COP28, billed as the ‘most inclusive COP ever,’ reflects the UAE’s blatant disregard for human rights and its unwillingness to address the dire state of rights in the country.
The new mass trial, revealed by the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center (EDAC), includes renowned figures like Mohamed al-Siddiq, Khalid al-Nuaimi, Hadef al-Owais, Nasser bin Ghaith, Sultan al-Qasimi, Ahmed Mansoor, and Mohamed al-Roken. These individuals face trumped-up terrorism charges, adding to the UAE’s history of politically motivated prosecutions. Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, expressed astonishment at the Emirati authorities’ audacity to initiate a sham trial during an international event. The move aims to suppress peaceful dissent and signals the UAE’s reluctance to address its abysmal human rights record.
The Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center condemned the referral of 87 individuals to Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court, emphasizing their concerns about the UAE’s fabrication of charges to prolong sentences. Notable figures like Dr. Sultan Bin Kayed al-Qasimi, Khaled al-Shaiba Al-Nuaimi, Dr. Muhammad Al-Roken, Dr. Hadef Al-Owais, Ahmed Mansoor, and Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith are among the accused.
The UAE’s acknowledgment of the trial, reported by ABC News, during COP28 raises questions about the timing and intentions behind this judicial move. The state-run WAM news agency quoted the UAE’s attorney general, Hamad al-Shamsi, stating that the accused faced charges related to terrorism.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been vocal in denouncing the UAE’s actions. Their demonstration during COP28 aimed to shed light on figures like Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights defender targeted for advocating press freedom and democratic rights.
The UAE’s continued suppression of dissent through mass trials, especially during international events like COP28, demands urgent attention. The international community, human rights organizations, and concerned individuals must closely monitor the situation, advocate for transparency, and push for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners. The UAE’s exploitation of the criminal justice system to quash the human rights movement is an alarming trend that requires collective efforts to bring about meaningful change.