Tag Archives: Gulf Center for Human Rights

United Arab Emirates: ‘not a country for business as usual’


United Arab Emirates: 'not a country for business as usual'

While the United Arab Emirates is making a good impression with EXPO 2020, lawyers and other human rights defenders are languishing in prison in the Gulf state.

Of course, it looks neat, the website of World Expo 2020, which is currently being held in Dubai. According to the website, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was very happy when it heard in 2013 that it had been chosen to organize the World Expo.

But as fireworks were set off to celebrate this sign of global recognition, three human rights lawyers were in custody, awaiting the mass trial in which they and 91 other human rights defenders were eventually sentenced to long prison sentences. The lawyers Mohammed al-Roken, Mohammed al-Mansoori and Razzaq al-Siddiq are now serving a ten-year prison sentence for signing a petition for political reform and for defending human rights defenders.

Leaked letters

“I know Al-Mansoori and Al-Roken well, they are friends of mine,” said Khalid Ibrahim, Director of the independent human rights organization Gulf Center for Human Rights (CGHR). In 2011, Al-Roken defended the famous poet and human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor. Mansoor has been in prison since 2017. He was the last human rights defender in the UAE who was still free. Through leaked letters we know how Mansoor is treated: solitary confinement in a bare cell, no contact with his family, no books and no medication for his heart disease. Even his mattress was taken from him.”

Ibrahim has serious concerns about the circumstances of the three lawyers. “Their prison sentences will end in 2023, but it is questionable whether they will be released. On heyday, prisoners are released early on a regular base, but they never include political prisoners. At the same time there are people whose sentences have ended, but who are not released because they refuse to admit in a video that they are guilty.”


We have just been informed by GCHR that Mr. Al-Saddiq is a scholar and professor but not a human rights lawyer.



Iraq: Rights lawyer Ali Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji disappeared since arrest in Amarah on October 8, 2019


On October 8, 2019, human rights lawyer Ali Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji went to the southern city of Amarah to meet one of his clients. However, shortly after arriving at the rendezvous point, he was arrested by members of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU). As a lawyer, Al Heliji had represented several demonstrators arrested in connection with the anti-government October demonstrations. On March 10, 2021, his father was assasinated in the city of Amarah.

Ali Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji is a human rights lawyer representing demonstrators arrested in connection with the recent anti-government demonstrations. On October 1, 2019, protests started in Baghdad and southern cities calling for improved services and more action to curb corruption. The demonstrations were met by excessive and unnecessary lethal force by Iraqi security forces and have resulted in a hundred people killed and about 4000 injured.

On October 6, 2019, two armed men from the PMU came to Ali Jaseb Hattab’s home to warn him from speaking out on Facebook about the killing of protesters and to stop accusing certain factions of the PMU of being responsible for these killings. The armed men then threatened Ali Jaseb Hattab that they would kill him if he did not stop.

On October 8, 2019, Ali Jaseb Hattab received a call from one of his clients who wanted to meet. The two men were supposed to meet in the southern city of Amara in the Missan province. However, when Al Heliji arrived at the rendezvous point, armed men in two black pick-up trucks belonging to the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) dragged him away from his car, where he stood speaking to his client, and then drove him away in one of the trucks. When Ali Jaseb Hattab’s relatives reported his abduction, local security forces told them that they were not aware of his arrest. His fate and whereabouts remain unknown to date.

On March 10, 2021, Ali Jaseb Hattab’s father, Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji, was shot dead in the city of Amarah, in the Iraqi governorate of Maysan. He was a vocal advocate for his son, constantly calling for his release and for criminal sanctions against the parties responsible for his disappearance.




https://www.amnesty.de/mitmachen/urgent-action/irak-menschenrechtsanwalt-weiterhin-verschwunden-2020-11-06 (DEUTSCH)

Saudi Arabia/USA: Saudi lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair to receive 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award

June 21, 2019

Image result for waleed abu al-khair

The American Bar Association announced today that it will honor Saudi lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair with its 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award in recognition of his work to advance human rights and advocate for justice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The award will be presented during a dinner at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, August 8, 7:30 p.m. at the Westin St. Francis Hotel.

The International Human Rights Award was established to honor and give public recognition to a lawyer, human rights luminary or international human rights organization that has made an exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights outside of the United States. The award is given on behalf of the ABA Center for Human RightsSection of International LawSection of Civil Rights and Social JusticeSection of Litigation and Rule of Law Initiative.

Abu al-Khair is the founder of Monitor for Human Rights, one of only a few human rights organizations in Saudi Arabia, which he established in 2008, just a year after he began practicing law. As an attorney, Abu al-Khair dedicated his career to defending human rights and the right to freedom of expression, even after government authorities banned him in 2009 from representing specific defendants in courts. Abu al-Khair also used his legal background to advocate for an elected parliament, independent judiciary and other democratic reforms in Saudi Arabia.



Abu al-Khair to receive ABA Award




https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/04/15/arabie-saoudite-cinquieme-annee-de-prison-pour-lactiviste-waleed-abu-al-khair (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waleed_Abu_al-Khair (FRANCAIS)

Saudi Arabia: New wave of arrests targeting human rights community must stop!

April 11, 2019

On 09 April 2019, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) received a list of at least 13 names of human rights defenders, including women’s rights activists, who are confirmed to have been arrested in Saudi Arabia this month. The Saudi authorities carried out a new wave of arrests of writers and social media bloggers who were previously engaged in public discourse on reforms.

Since 04 April, many Saudi activists and bloggers, including academics, have been tweeting intensively about this new crackdown. The international community is still struggling to reason with, put pressure on and hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its human rights violations. This includes the arbitrary arrest and torture of women human rights defenders, including prominent women’s rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul, who has yet to be released on bail as expected yet. The Saudi authorities continue to ignore, deny and act with utmost impunity and intransigence.

GCHR’s source (who must be kept anonymous for their safety) stated that “these arrests were orchestrated since February and linked to their support for the women activists’ families.” GCHR believes that Saudi Arabia is exerting every effort to shut down civic space, silence the human rights community and exterminate the feminist movement in the kingdom.

The list of names includes:

  1. Salah Al-HaidarAziza Al-Yousef’s son and a US citizen
  2. Bader Al-Ibrahim, Saudi-US citizen (writer & physician)
  3. Mohammed Al-Sadiq (writer)
  4. Thumar Al-Marzouqi (writer)
  5. Khadijah Al-Harbi (feminist writer), the wife of Thumar Al-Marzouqi, pregnant
  6. Fahad Abalkhail (an activist who previously supported the women driving) https://youtu.be/qQkXXicGpso
  7. Abdullah Al-Dehailan (writer)
  8. Naif Al-Hendas (writer)
  9. Ayman Al-Drees (writer and translator)
  10. Moqbel Al-Saqqar (novelist)
  11. Abdullah Al-Shehri (lawyer)
  12. Redha Al-Bori (blogger and writer)
  13. Ali Al-Saffar (writer)

Shaikhah Al-Urf, the wife of the detained lawyer Abdullah Al-Shehri, has also been suspected as detained because of lost communication with her, but her arrest couldn’t be confirmed

Anas Al-Mazrou, a lecturer at King Saud university, has also been detained after posting a question in a public panel at Riyadh Book Fair last month on the whereabouts of the jailed human rights and women activists.

The newly-detained activists and human rights defenders are being held incommunicado, while their families remain without any contact with them and unaware of their whereabouts and/or the charges against them, to date.




Kuwait: Twitter account of human rights lawyer Abeer Al-Haddad hacked after she sued the head of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs

October 6, 2018

On 05 October 2018, the twitter account of human rights lawyer Abeer Al-Haddad was hacked in Kuwait, four days after she sued the head of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs.

Her twitter account shows the following message “Caution: This account is temporarily restricted.” The Executive Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Khalid Ibrahim, tweeted about the incident and asked for support, saying, “Show your solidarity with Human Rights Lawyer Abeer Al-Haddad,” whose Twitter account @3beerlawyer was hacked “solely due to her defense of the Bedoon Community in the country.”

On 02 October 2018, she filed a legal complaint at the Administrative Court against the head of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs, Saleh Al-Fadala, for his failure to reform the situation of the Bedoon community in Kuwait and protect their civil and human rights. Some observers say that this institution has complicated the daily life of Kuwait’s Bedoon citizens.

This prompted Al-Haddad, as a lawyer and legal attorney to a large number of Bedoon citizens, to sue the head of the Apparatus not only due to the fact that he was working without legal status, but also because she accused him of neglecting both his duties and job functions. In addition, he reportedly failed to achieve the humanitarian objectives for which the Apparatus was established.

On 13 August 2018, Al-Haddad published a tweet stating her intention to sue Al-Fadala, whom she said was working illegally.



https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1967 (ARABIC)

Syria: Human rights lawyer Yasser Al-Saleem arrested

September 24, 2018

In the early hours of the morning on 22 September 2018, an armed group stormed the home of human rights lawyer Yasser Al-Saleem in Kafr Nabl, located in Idlib governate in Syria, and arrested him with activist Abdelhamid Al-Bayoush, who was visiting him.

Subsequent reports indicated that they were taken to Al-Eqab prison in the Jabal Al-Zawiya area, located about 40km south-west of the governorate capital, Idlib city, but the reason for the arrests was not made public.

Al-Saleem has worked effectively carrying out peaceful human rights activities in the city of Kaft Nabl, and has recently been calling for the release of detainees and abductees. The day before his arrest, he participated in demonstrations that took place in the city of Kafr Nabl on 21 September 2018 which called for the release of citizens of the city of Sweida, who were kidnapped by Da’esh recently.





https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1952 (ARABIC)

Kuwait: Human rights lawyer Abeer Al-Haddad faces threats due to her ongoing defense of Bedoon rights

August 20, 2018

According to reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), human rights lawyer Abeer Al-Haddad has received a large number of threats due to a recent tweet she published, in addition to her ongoing defense of the civil and human rights of the Bedoon community in Kuwait.

On 13 August 2018, Al-Haddad published a tweet on her Twitter account stating: “After the end of his term in the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs, Saleh Al-Fadala is working illegally and I declare my intention to sue him as the attorney for thousands of people affected from among the Bedoon.”

The Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs was established under decree No. 467 issued in 2010. Al-Fadala was appointed as the head of this government body with the rank of Minister by Decree No. 468 issued in 2010. The period of work of the Apparatus was determined to be a period of five years but no extension was mentioned in either decree; however, it was extended twice, in 2015 for two years, and in 2017 for a period of three years, and no decree was issued referring to the extension of the work of the head of the Apparatus.


https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1931 (ARABIC)

Iraq: Protect the right to peaceful demonstration, release all detained demonstrators and reopen access to the Internet / Assassination of human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm in Basra

July 24, 2018

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received reliable reports confirming that Iraqi authorities have used disproportionate force against peaceful demonstrators resulting in at least 13 deaths, 269 injuries and 757 detentions. In many cities across Iraq, the authorities used water cannons, tear gas and on several occasions live ammunition to disperse peaceful demonstrations. In Basra, the human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm (pictured above) was assassinated by gunmen after offering to defend the detainees.

Assassination of human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm.

On July 23, 2018, gunmen assassinated human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-KarmThe killing took place near the Al Hadi police station, shortly after Al Karm had left the Palace of Justice. The armed men, who were driving a Toyota Land Cruiser, intercepted his car and shot him 15 times. Jabbar Al-Karm was known to be defending many of the demonstrators detained in Basra since the protests began on July 08, 2018.

The GCHR condemns, in the strongest terms, the killing of Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm and expresses its deep concern for the situation of all human rights defenders in Iraq, including lawyers, journalists and bloggers who are bravely continuing their work in the face of extreme danger.



https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1913 (ARABIC)

Qatar: Human rights lawyer Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi protests travel ban imposed on him

April 30, 2018

Prominent human rights lawyer Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi has complained about a travel ban imposed on him in Qatar. He released a statement on 28 April 2018 explaining, “In order to obstruct me and cause an altercation, the Attorney General of Qatar issued a decree preventing me from leaving the country and then made a malicious complaint against me. … I resorted to the judiciary, which was fair with me by acquitting me of the charges of slander made by the Attorney General, and the Court of Appeal issued a decision to cancel the travel ban issued against me. ”

“But the Attorney General, with government approval, has continued to flagrantly violate the principles of the Constitution and Qatari laws, and has grossly violated the human rights for which they hold international conferences in Qatar, and applied on me a blockade similar to the blockade imposed on Qatar,” he said.

“I will seek all my rights by all legal means available abroad, and I will resort to all means to obtain my rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the country,” he concluded.

Notably, on 26 June 2017, Capital Security Administration informed Dr. Al-Nuaimi that the travel ban previously imposed on him on 07 January 2017 had been renewed despite the fact that the Appeal Court in Qatar revoked it on 30 May 2017.

On 07 February 2017, authorities in Qatar prevented Dr. Al-Nuaimi from travelling without informing him about any possible reasons. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received reports confirming that the Attorney General of Qatar, Ali Al-Marri, has placed Dr. Al-Nuaimi on the list of individuals who are not allowed to travel outside the country – without any prior clarification or directing any charges against him.

Dr.  Al-Nuaimi is a well-known human rights lawyer who voluntarily defended prisoners of conscience in Qatar including poet Mohamed Rashid Al-Ajami. Al-Ajami was handed down a life sentence in 2011, which was reduced to 15 years in prison, because of a poem he wrote. He was only released in 2016 after serving five years in prison.





Click to access EN_HRL_20180507_Qatar_Travel-ban-imposed-on-human-rights-lawyer-Dr-Najeeb-Al-Nuaimi.pdf

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1842 (ARABIC)