UAE: Alya Abdulnoor transferred to Tawam hospital and denied the right to spend her remaining days with her family despite her terminal cancer

This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

Geneva, February 8, 2019

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) learnt that Alya Abdulnoor was transferred to Tawam hospital in Al-Ain on January 10, 2019, without informing her family and without any explanation. It was only after multiple calls that that the family eventually learnt of Ms Abdulnoor’s whereabouts. They were not allowed to visit her until January 21, 2019.

Alya Abdulnoor was arrested by State Security on July 29, 2015, and placed in a secret detention facility where she remained for about four months under torture and ill-treatment, before her transfer to Al-Wathba prison. In May 2018, the ICJHR received a recorded testimony of the victim exposing how she was tortured, intimidated and continuously humiliated and deprived of adequate medical care.

Diagnosed with a cancer recurrence shortly after her arrest, Alya Abdulnoor was nevertheless kept in custody in very poor conditions without any treatment for her disease. Her state of health has considerably worsened after cancer had spread throughout her entire body. She is currently unable to stand or walk without help.

On January 10, the victim was transported from Mafraq hospital to Tawam hospital against the doctors’ opinion, who advised against the transfer due to her critical health condition and the severe pain she was suffering. The family confirmed indeed that the transfer exhausted the victim. Ms Abdulnoor’s mother believes that this measure had no other purpose than that of covering the serious violations committed against her daughter and taking her away from Mafraq hospital, where the medical staff was displaying more empathy and interest to her case.

After cancer reached her vital organs, Alya Abdulnoor was told that she had only a few months to live and her disease could not be cured, her family submitted several requests to the authorities to ask for a medical release, according to Federal Law No. 43 of 1992, to spend her last days with her family. However, all the requests were rejected, including the last one submitted by the family to the Public Prosecutor a few weeks ago. Once again, he refused to consider the victim’s release and ordered instead her transfer to Tawam hospital.

During the visit on January 21, the family witnessed first-hand the inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted to Ms Abdulnoor and the poor detention conditions at Tawam hospital. When they visited her, Alya was chained to her bed in a windowless room without ventilation and heavily guarded. The family asked to remove the chains which were causing unnecessary pain to the victim, they were told that the chains would only be removed after her death.

Alya Abdulnoor is still denied basic hygiene care and adequate medical attention despite her critical condition now that cancer has reached her brain, her liver, lungs and her bones, making her pain unbearable. Despite the repeated requests of the family, the authorities are still refusing to deliver a medical report on Alya’s current state of health.

The ICJHR calls upon the UAE authorities to release Alya Abdulnoor without delay and let her spend her remaining time among her family and to open an impartial investigation into the torture allegations.

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This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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