An Emirati victim of enforced disappearance has been seen for the first time since his arrest nearly a year ago, raising fears that he has been tortured.
Jamal al-Hammadi is a 47-year-old teacher of Islamic education from Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has not been heard from since his arrest on April 20th.
The only information about his whereabouts came on February 5th when a group of prisoners at al-Razeen prison claimed to have seen him at a state security facility in Abu Dhabi.
He disappeared last year on his way home to Khor Fakkan after leaving his mother at a Fujairah hospital for treatment. His family tried to call his mobile phone but it was switched off and authorities have been unresponsive to enquiries about his imprisonment.
Prisoners transferred to al-Razeen prison from the state security facility told al-Hammadi’s brother Fuad about his whereabouts and described his prison conditions as “severe”. Fuad al-Hammadi is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in al-Razeen after being convicted in the “UAE 94” trial and told his wife about this new information during a prison visit on February 5th.
It is a distinct possibility that al-Hammadi has been tortured and his on-going incommunicado detention means that he is at high risk of continued mistreatment. Prisoners held by state security regularly report that they have been tortured and a recent report by a United Nations expert called for an investigation into the use of torture by authorities.
This is not the first time that al-Hammadi has been subjected to enforced disappearance by authorities. He was arrested in 2001 and held for four years without charge before the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentioncondemned his detention and he was released.
Security services continued to harass him after his release in 2005 by calling him for questioning and detaining him without charge on several occasions. As he has never faced formal legal proceedings it is not clear why authorities have targeted him.
Rori Donaghy, director, said:
“Authorities must bring Jamal al-Hammadi under the protection of the law by either charging or releasing him. The longer he is held at a secret prison the greater fears become that he is facing severe mistreatment and torture.”
For further information please contact Rori Donaghy on +44(0)7850062105 or at firstname.lastname@example.org