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Captain Ali Saif, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) Inspection Officer, is responsible for human rights violations for his role in leading State Security agents to arrest prominent UAE democracy activists, including Mohammed al-Roken and Abdulsalam Darwish al-Marzooqi in July 2012, according to sources who spoke with DAWN.
Saif also led plainclothes State Security agents to search the home of al-Roken on July 17, 2012 and of al-Marzooqi on July 24, 2012 without a search warrant, according to these sources. Saif and the other agents did not identify themselves to al-Marzooqi's family despite numerous requests to do so, and confiscated Marzooqi's electronic devices. During the search of al-Roken's house, Saif and the other agents refused to show the family a search warrant, and confiscated some of al-Roken's electronic devices during a six-hour search that ended at midnight, as DAWN has documented.
"Captain Ali Saif played a critical, but overlooked role in the unlawful suppression of free speech and human rights abuses in the UAE," said Abdullah Alaoudh, Director for the Gulf Region at DAWN. "Saif should face investigation and prosecution by UAE authorities for his role in contributing to a campaign of repression that tore families apart and violated the human rights of peaceful activists advocating for basic democratic freedoms."
In March 2012, UAE authorities launched a wave of arrests targeting 94 individuals, the "UAE 94," whom they accused of belonging to the al-Islah opposition group and of planning to overthrow the government. UAE authorities held many of the detainees in secret detention centers for months before taking them to court or allowing them to see their families. Several of the detainees were held incommunicado for more than one year and claimed that they were tortured to confess their involvement in this supposed plot, and subjected to ill-treatment during their pretrial detention and afterwards. In 2013, UAE officials sentenced 69 members of the UAE 94 to prison terms ranging from seven to 15 years, and stripped many of them and their family members of their nationality. This crackdown came in the aftermath of a 2011 petition signed by 133 academics, lawyers, former judges, and activists in the UAE calling for democratic reforms.
See cases: Mohammed al-Roken and Abdulsalam Darwish al-Marzooqi.
DAWN requested a response from Ali Saif on August 19, 2022, but he has not replied as of publication.
Tweet the Emirati Ministry of Justice here and the Emirati Embassy in Washington DC here. Tell them to investigate and prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses and to release unjustly imprisoned democracy activists.
About DAWN's culprit gallery:
Tyrants need enablers who will implement their oppressive practices, even if it means abusing their fellow citizens. These agents often mask their complicity in the guise of professionals exercising their duties in offices, courtrooms, police stations, and interrogation rooms.
DAWN seeks to disclose the identity of the state agents who enable repression and to make them recognizable at home and abroad. These individuals, whom DAWN calls "culprits," bear administrative, civil, moral, legal, and/or political responsibility for human rights abuses or international humanitarian law violations.