UAE prisoner of conscience Obaid Yousef Al-Zaabi free after 4 years of arbitrary detention
After being arbitrarily detained for 4 years, the prisoner of conscience Obaid Yousef Al-Zaabi has been released on 21 December 2017.
Obaid al-Zaabi was arrested on December 12, 2013, following his statements on the US channel CNN in which he spoke about his activities on Twitter to express his opinion, to condemn the torture practices made by the government and to defend human rights and the rights of prisoners of conscience.
Indeed, after seven months of detention, Mr Obaid Al-Zaabi was referred to the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi and acquitted of all charges by the judge who ordered his release on 23 June 2014. However, the State Security Apparatus refused to execute the court’s decision and continued to arbitrarily detain Obaid Al-Zaabi in Khalifa Medical City Hospital claiming that he suffers from psychological disorders that require urgent treatment. Despite numerous appeals from international organizations and UN bodies, the State Security Services refused to release him until December 21, 2017.
We welcome this positive step taken by the UAE authorities and we urge them to conduct an independent investigation into the detention conditions of Obaid Al-Zaabi, the allegations of torture and the reasons behind his psychological deterioration and whether the conditions of detention and torture were a cause of his health status.We also demand that the authorities end the harassment, arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of those who legitimately exercise their right to freedom of expression and we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of opinion .