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Number of detainees in UAE prisons rises as arrests of activists increase

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 20 December 2012 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the persistent arrests of activists and bloggers by Emirati forces and the imprisonment of those detainees without clarifying the charges and accusations against them. Those arrested have not been sent to the prosecution and their locations have not been disclosed.

The UAE authorites have arrested, on 16 and 17 December 2012, four activists and bloggers; 21-year-old Omran El-Baloshy, 21-year-old Saleh El-Nikabi, Salem El-Shiekhy El-Baloshy, and 26-year-old Ahmed Hassan El-Hamady. They were arrested for participating in the call for political reform and the protection of fundamental human rights within the country, as well as for their activities on the Internet and their solidarity with a campaign that calls for the revealing of the fate of three detainees whose arrests have been denied by security forces.

The Saudi Arabian authorities also handed over 27-year-old Abdullah El-Sageh to the Emirati security forces after arresting him while performing Umrah (an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca), because of his political activities.

In a similar incident, the UAE authorities arrested three bloggers and activists on 19 December 2012; Nagy Rashed El-Nemy, former diplomat who was once arrested in Iraq in 2006 while still a representative of the state and then released weeks later; Maged El-Shaaer El-Shamis, an academic; and Said El-Shahy, a media figure in Kuwait. The reasons behind their arrests are unknown as of yet and as are their locations.

"The recent arrests of activists and bloggers launched by the UAE authorities started on 5 December with the arrest of Mohamed Salem El-Zomor. The authorities were able to justify the arrests of activists through the use of the cybercrimes law which was issued in November 2012 and bans calls for demonstrations via social networks," said ANHRI.

ANHRI calls for the immediate release of all political detainees in UAE prisons and for all charges against them to be dropped. It also calls for the cybercrime law to be reviewed and for authorities to stop harassing bloggers and activists as per this restrictive law.

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