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Stockholm - Skyline International has issued an urgent appeal to the international community to put pressure on the Emirates authorities to release political prisoner Ibrahim Al-Marzouqi, whose sentence expires on March 26, 2022. He is a member of the UAE94 group. It stresses that the human rights situation in the UAE continues to deteriorate in the face of the authorities' ongoing repressive policies, and calls on all international parties to live up to their legal and moral responsibilities towards opposition figures and activists.

In a statement released today (Wednesday), Skyline says it views with great concern the continued detention of Emirati prisoner of conscience Ibrahim Al-Marzouqi, who has already served his prison sentence and is still being held in degrading prison conditions.

Al-Marzouqi was arrested on 26 March 2012, and on 02 July 2013, he was sentenced to ten years in prison and placed on probation for another three years. His sentence expired on 26 March 2022. Member of the UAE94 Group.

During his arrest by the security forces, Al-Marzouqi was subjected to humiliating practices. He was placed in solitary confinement without a bed or blanket, and he was prevented from visiting and meeting a lawyer.

As documented by Skyline, these practices continued during detention, as Marzouki was repeatedly interrogated for long periods of time without legal justification, with his detention extended and his request for release on bail denied, and UAE authorities deliberately influenced public opinion by publishing false reports. In addition, coercive measures such as solitary confinement, night lighting, and confiscation of personal belongings occurred repeatedly during the investigation.

These practices affected the physical integrity of Al-Marzouqi, as he was beaten on the body with a long water hose, pierced with nails, and held under the cold air conditioning for long periods of time from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., despite knowing that the victim was suffering from back pain.

On July 2, 2013, the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced 56 people, including Al-Marzouqi, to 10 years in prison with an additional 3 years of probation. He had appeared before the court as a member of the group that became known as the (UAE 94) group.

Although Al-Marzouqi served his sentence on April 9, 2022, UAE authorities are still holding him without legal basis, having placed him in the Munasaha center of Al-Razeen prison under the pretext that he poses a terrorist threat, without giving him the right to appeal.

Skyline states that the practice of holding prisoners beyond the end of their sentences is opaque and breaches basic norms of fairness and due process. The Federal Court of Appeal in Abu Dhabi, at the request of the State Security Prosecution, imposes referral orders to counseling institutions with no guarantees of a fair trial. Detention for "counselling" appears to be indefinite.

Accordingly, Skyline believes that Al-Marzouqi's detention violates several human rights conventions, including the UDHR, which emphasizes the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 5), the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal (Article 10), and the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention (Article 9), as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): The ICCPR reaffirms the rights set forth in the UDHR and elaborates on the right to humane treatment and the prohibition of torture (Article 7), the right to liberty and security of person (Article 9), and the right to an effective remedy (Article 2).

At the end of the statement, Skyline calls on UAE authorities to release all prisoners detained in the UAE prior to COP28 in December 2023 who have served their sentences in flagrant violation of their human rights, and to end the practise of arbitrarily detaining human rights defenders and dissidents in Munasaha centres (counselling centres) after they have served their full sentences. It stresses that these measures not only harm the individuals directly affected, but also undermine the international human rights framework and the principles of justice and fairness enshrined therein. Skyline further reiterates that it is imperative that the UAE authorities comply with their obligations under international law and respect the rights and dignity of all individuals within their jurisdiction.