ECHR | Emirates Center for Human Rights

ECHR | Emirates Center for Human Rights
HomeNewsThe Emirati prisoner Alia Abdulnoor suffering from cancer is subjected to slow death after being detained and refused medical release The Emirati prisoner Alia Abdulnoor suffering from cancer is subjected to slow death after being detained and refused medical release

The Emirati prisoner Alia Abdulnoor suffering from cancer is subjected to slow death after being detained and refused medical release

The life of the Emirati detainee Alia Abdulnoor Mohammed Abdulnoor (DOB: 20/11/1977) is threatened by the refusal of the UAE security and judicial authorities to release her or allow her family to treat her. The family wants to treat Alia at their expense in a private hospital as she suffers from cancerous tumors, bone fragility and liver fibrosis.

Alia was arrested on July 28, 2015, from her residence in the UAE, without providing her or her family with the reasons for her arrest.  She was then subjected to enforced disappearance in an unknown location for four months, without being allowed to communicate with her family and without disclosing any information regarding her destination to anyone. Then she was presented to the judiciary and tried on charges of funding terrorism and dealing with international terrorists outside the country before being sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

According to her family, Alia was in good health prior to her arrest. She had had cancer previously, but the disease was controlled in 2008 after a trip to treat her in Germany. However, as a result of the harsh and inhumane conditions and deprivation of treatment, her health has deteriorated, and cancer has re-emerged and spread in a way that is difficult to control without any medical intervention.This puts her life in danger.

During the four months period of enforced disappearance, Alia was held in one of the secret prisons owned by the UAE security forces. She remained in a solitary cell with no bedding, no ventilation, no windows, no toilet and no food. Furthermore, she was stripped of her exterior clothing and cameras were placed in her cell. She was also handcuffed and blindfolded. Alia was interrogated daily about her personal life, her activities and the online sites she browsed on the internet. Under physiological and physical pressure, and threats to kill her sister and her parents, she succumbed to signing papers containing charges she is unaware of until this day.

After presenting her to the prosecution in December 2015, she was transferred to the notorious Al-Wathba Prison, although she was being held in reserve. The prison is for convicts in criminal cases such as murder, theft, and drugs. She was subjected to poor conditions of detention and degrading treatment.

Alia’s family was not allowed to visit her until two months after her arrest in Al-Wathba prison. By then, she had lost 10kg of her weight due to her deteriorating health as cancer had returned and spread. She had swelling of the lymph nodes, liver fibrosis, as well as bone fragility as a result of prolonged detention in a very cold room with no covers or bedding.

About a year ago, Alia was transferred to the Mafraq governmental hospital in Abu Dhabi, which is not equipped to receive her condition. She is still held there until now inside the surgery department. The situation in the hospital is not very different from the prison where she is suffering from neglect and is not given medication other than pain killers and sedative drugs.

In the course of nine hearings before the courts in case number 150 of 2015, Alia was deprived of legal representation; any lawyer defending her was threatened. Alia was not presented with any materialistic evidence against her other than the record of the websites she had been browsing.

She was accused of being connected with some names accused of terrorism in the UAE. She was also accused of financing terrorist groups, despite the fact that Alia had no political activity and was only involved in social activities such as collecting donations and financial aid to send to women and children affected by the war in Syria and some needy families residing in the UAE.  The verdict was finally confirmed on May 15, 2017, and she was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

UAE Federal Law number 43 of 1992 on the Regulation of Punitive Establishments stipulates in Article 32 that "if the doctor of the establishment finds that the prisoner is suffering a disease that threatens his/her life or life of others or is completely incapacitated, the administration of the establishment shall submit him/her to the medical committee referred to in the preceding article. Article 33 of the same law states that "if the condition of the patient inmate reaches the degree of risk based on the report of the institution's doctor, the management of the establishment shall notify his family and permit their visit without being bound by the official time of visit."


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