Call for inquiry into woman’s death in UAE custody

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On 4 May, Alia Abdulnoor passed away in hospital in the UAE after a lengthy battle with breast cancer, which resurfaced shortly after her arrest in 2015 (Report, theguardian.com, 26 July). According to reliable sources, up until her death she did not receive adequate medical care to treat her illness and was reportedly forced to sign a document stating that she had refused chemotherapy. In the last months of her life, the UAE ignored calls from the UN to grant her early release on medical grounds. Instead, Alia died in inhumane conditions, shackled to a hospital bed, in a windowless room without ventilation. In past statements, both UN and EU representatives appear to have been satisfied that there is credible evidence that human rights violations occurred in her case. A UN spokesperson recently said her detention conditions “could amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.

Despite being diagnosed with breast cancer just a month into her arrest, Alia was repeatedly denied access to adequate medical care and was only transferred to a hospital over a year after the diagnosis. She also suffered physical abuse at the hands of prison warders, according to testimonies of fellow inmates. Alia was finally convicted in 2017 for terrorism and sentenced to 10 years in prison in a case Human Rights Watch has described as marred by due process violations.

As parliamentarians, we call on the UAE authorities to open an independent investigation into her case to establish whether she was treated in line with internationally agreed standards and, if appropriate, to initiate the prosecution of those responsible for any human rights violations that may have occurred.

Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat, East Dunbartonshire
Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton Pavilion
Stephen Kinnock Labour, Aberavon
Hilary Benn Labour, Leeds Central
Martyn Day SNP, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
Christine Jardine Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West
Ben Bradshaw Labour, Exeter
Patricia Gibson SNP, North Ayrshire and Arran
Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour, Brighton Kemptown
Andy Slaughter Labour, Hammersmith
Layla Moran Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon
Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda
Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North
Tommy Shepherd SNP, Edinburgh East
Tom Brake Liberal Democrat, Carshalton and Wallington
Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East
Christopher Stephens SNP, Glasgow South West
Tonia Antoniazzi Labour, Gower
Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat, Caithness, Sunterland and Easter Ross
Stuart McDonald SNP Cumbernaild, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
Paul Sweeney Labour, Glasgow North East
Darren Jones Labour, Bristol North West
Stewart Malcolm McDonald SNP, Glasgow South
Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham Northfield
Jo Stevens Labour, Cardiff Central
Sir George Howarth Labour, Knowsley
David Drew Labour, Stroud
Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme
Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West
Paul Scriven Liberal Democrat, House of Lords

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