Torture in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                            

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. Dependence on oil and a large expatriate workforce are significant long-term challenges.

Description: Description: UAE

The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the United Arab Emirates.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

May 30 Judgement Day for Americans Tortured In UAE

Brian Dooley, World Post, 28 May 2016

[accessed 8 August 2016]

On Monday, two Americans who have been held in an Emirati jail for almost two years will find out in court whether they will be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Successful businessmen Kamal Ahmed Eldarat, age 58, and his son Mohamed, who is 33, were tortured into making false confessions and given a sham trial.

The Eldarats were disappeared into the UAE’s secret detention complex run by the State Security Apparatus in August 2014. Originally charged with terrorist-related offenses, they now face the reduced charges of providing foreign aid without the necessary permission after sending humanitarian aid to a Libyan city during its civil war.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or download PDF at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


ARBITRARY DETENTION, TORTURE, AND FAIR TRIAL - In January 2014, 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis received five-year jail sentences on charges that they set up a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country. They alleged that UAE authorities subjected them to torture in detention and denied them access to legal assistance for many months. In August, authorities detained 10 Libyan businessmen, at least 2 of whom forcibly disappeared. In September, UAE authorities detained six Emiratis with suspected links to local Islamist groups. At time of writing, authorities have not charged any of the men, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

Two British nationals alleged that they endured torture in pretrial detention. Hasnan Ali, whom a court acquitted of drug charges in April 2014, alleged that police in Dubai beat and threatened to shoot and sexually assault him. Ahmed Zeidan, who received a nine-year sentence for drug possession in May 2014, alleged that police in Dubai held him in solitary confinement for eight days and threatened him with sexual assault. Both men claim they signed legal statements in Arabic, a language neither can read.

In February 2014, the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers criticized the lack of judicial independence in the UAE, arguing that the executive branch exerts de facto control over the judiciary. She also expressed concern over reports of the use of secret detention facilities and the ill-treatment and torture of individuals held in incommunicado detention.

UAE refutes 'one-sided' Amnesty allegations of torture against political prisoners

Rori Donaghy, Middle East Eye, 19 November 2014

[accessed 5 December 2014]

In Tuesday’s report Amnesty documented serious allegations of torture against those held in prison. The London-based watchdog said prisoners have described being “tortured and ill-treated” including having their fingernails “pulled out” by officers who have “beaten them severely and suspended them upside down for long periods” of time.

Authorities have repeatedly denied allegations of torture and on Wednesday warned of the all “too real” threat of extremism, saying that the UAE “represents an alternative vision of a stable, peaceful, moderate and modernising society.”

UAE: Reveal Whereabouts of ‘Disappeared’ Libyans

Human Rights Watch, Beirut, 5 Oct 2014

[accessed 18 November 2014]

Family members of two of the Libyans, brothers who have lived in the UAE since the 1990s, told Human Rights Watch that neither man has made any contact with their families since security forces detained them on August 28, 2014. The family members said that the authorities refuse to acknowledge that the men are in custody or divulge their whereabouts.

Police called one brother, Mohamed Elaradi, to come in for questioning at the Al Barsha police station in Dubai at 8 p.m. on August 28. He returned home at 11 p.m., accompanied by 8 to 10 security officials in civilian clothing. One of them said they were from Abu Dhabi. The men searched the house and confiscated a laptop, then left with Elaradi, telling the family he would soon return. They have not heard from him since.

Security forces detained his brother Salim Elaradi at a Dubai hotel on the same evening, and searched his home in Dubai, confiscating a laptop and a mobile phone.

On August 29, officers at Al Barsha police station told family members that they had no record of either man’s arrest, and the authorities have neither confirmed their detention nor disclosed any information about the two men in the intervening weeks.

Court hears evidence of Briton’s torture by Dubai police

Ekklesia, 17 Mar 2014

[accessed 18 March 2014]

A court in the United Arab Emirates on 16 March 2014 has heard evidence detailing the torture by local police of a British man charged with drugs offences.

Hasnain Ali, from London, was arrested in May 2013 in Dubai, and held incommunicado for several days. During this period he was repeatedly beaten and kicked, and threatened with tasers, firearms, and the prospect of sexual assault.

As a result of his torture, Mr Ali signed a 'confession' in Arabic, a language he cannot read, related to charges of possessing and selling drugs. He faces a potential death sentence if convicted.

U.N. expert calls for probe of 'torture' in UAE prisons

Agence France-Presse AFP, Abu Dhabi, 5 Feb 2014

[accessed 25 March 2014]

A UN expert on Wednesday urged an independent probe into allegations of torture in United Arab Emirates prisons, which she was not allowed to visit during a fact-finding mission.

She told a press conference she had received "credible information and evidence" that detainees are arrested without warrant, blindfolded, taken to unknown places and held incommunicado, sometimes for months.   She said she also had evidence of detainees being "tortured and/or subjected to ill-treatment" including by being put in "electric chairs."   She said she was not allowed to visit prisons or meet with certain detainees, adding that "on one occasion, I was followed."

75% of United Arab Emirates Prisoners Report Police Torture

Reprieve, Center for Global Research on Globalization, 25 November 2013

[accessed 25 Nov 2013]

[accessed 31 August 2016]

The report, ‘Systematic Torture: Statistics from Dubai Central Jail’, compiled by a number of prisoners and analysed by lawyers at Reprieve, reveals that 75% of prisoners report some sort of torture or abuse by police upon arrest. Prisoners have also detailed the type of torture to which they were subjected with an alarming number including threats of a sexual nature.

Other techniques allegedly used by police include electrocution, severe beatings, and death threats. One prisoner said: “I was beaten so badly I could not kneel to pray for 15 days” while another alleges that “Police said this is their country so they can kill me and throw my body in desert as I am foreign.” Many prisoners featured in the report say that they were tortured in order to extract confessions, for example one prisoner who said that “the CID police pointed his gun at me and said he would shoot me if I don’t tell I sell drugs”.

Such reports of police torture are common in Dubai. One example is that of Grant Cameron, Suneet Jeerh and Karl Williams, three British tourists who were subjected to beatings and electric shocks, before being forced to sign documents in Arabic – a language they do not understand – while on holiday in Dubai last year. The men were subsequently pardoned and released, but, despite pressure from the UK Prime Minister to do so, the UAE has failed to carry out an independent investigation into their mistreatment.

Allegations of Torture in the UAE Require Action

Rori Donaghy, Director at the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, 21 October 2013

[accessed 21 Oct 2013]

[accessed 31 August 2016]

Handwritten letters by Egyptian prisoners include allegations consistent with those made by others, with prisoners saying they have been subjected to beatings, electric shocks and exposed to extremes of temperature in solitary confinement. Prisoners say guards have threatened them with HIV infection, sexual abuse and death while revealing that when they complain to the prosecutor, he has threatened them with further torture if they do not admit the charges against them.

Three Britons tortured in Dubai police custody, rights charity claims

Amelia Hill, The Guardian, 20 February 2013

[accessed 22 February 2013]

Three British men who have been held for seven months without trial on drug charges in Dubai were tortured by police with beatings and electric shocks, a human rights charity has claimed.

Grant Cameron and Karl Williams, both 25 and from London, and Suneet Jeerh, 25, from Essex, were arrested while on holiday on 10 July last year by police who claimed to have found a synthetic cannabis known as "spice" in their car.

The men signed documents in Arabic – a language none of them understands – after being threatened by having guns put to their heads and, in Williams's case, having electric shocks administered to the testicles, Marc Calcutt, a lawyer for the charity Reprieve, said.

They have denied charges of "consumption and possession with intent to distribute" and will appear at their first trial hearing on Thursday after spending seven months in custody.

In a draft witness statement provided to Calcutt, Williams said: "I remember that the police put a towel on my face so I could not see. They kept telling me I was going to die. I was so scared.

"Once I had been knocked to the ground, the police picked me up and put me on the bed. They pulled down my trousers, spread my legs and started to electrocute my testicles. It was unbelievably painful. I was so scared.

"Then they took off the towel and I could see that there was a gun pointed at my head. All I could think was that the gun in my face could go off if the policeman slipped, and it would kill me. I started to believe that I was going to die in that room."

The torture took place in the desert, it was claimed, where the men were initially taken after their arrest, and subsequently in a hotel room.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 13 Feb 2014]

ARBITRARY ARREST, TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - An investigation into a death in custody resulted in one-month prison terms for five officials, while 13 others were acquitted of torture. A second case resulted in a finding of death by natural causes. Torture allegations made by two Syrian nationals and one US national were not known to have been investigated.

Most al-Islah detainees could not meet with family or legal representatives and in most cases their whereabouts remained unknown. They were permitted in rare cases to telephone their families.

Human Rights in the United Arab Emirates

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 15 February 2013]

The human rights situation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has worsened as authorities arbitrarily detain civil society activists, holding them in secret, and harassing and intimidating their lawyers. An independent monitor found significant problems in the treatment of migrant workers on the high-profile Saadiyat Island project in Abu Dhabi, identifying the payment of illegal recruitment fees as a key concern.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 15 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The constitution prohibits torture, and there were no reports that government officials employed it;

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 15 February 2013]

Although the constitution bans torture, there is compelling evidence that members of the royal family and the country’s police have used torture against political rivals and business associates.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- United Arab Emirates ",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [United Arab Emirates]  [other countries]