Alia Abdel Nour, an Emirati woman who have been in UAE detention for around four years has reportedly died of cancer inside Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Prison on Saturday, according to Emirati activists.
Alia was arrested in 2015 and disappeared for six months before being charged with terrorism and being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017. Since her arrest, Alia’s health had deteriorated and she was denied access to adequate medical care after she was diagnosed with cancer.
In February 2019, the UK-based International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE) reported that authorities in the UAE rejected a request by Alia to be released for medical purposes.
Meanwhile, Alia’s death shocked human rights activists and organizations who were pressuring authorities into her release.
Sad news that Alia Abdel Nour has died after being denied adequate medical care should recall this shameful response from Alistair Burt when asked what was being done to raise her case with Abu Dhabi. pic.twitter.com/UjDYVNnT6k— Lyndon Peters (@LyndonPeters01) May 4, 2019
While the story has made waves on social media and got people condemning and demanding a response from the international community against the UAE, it was reported by pro-Qatar media in the region.
#وفاة_المعتقلة_علياء_عبدالنور— Fidaa فِداء (@fidaazaanin) May 4, 2019
علياء تعرضت لإهمال طبي مُتعمد وحُرمت من تلقي علاج مناسب في ظروف إنسانية مُنعت من رؤية ضوء الشمس عُذبت كُبلت حتى خلال فترة تواجدها في المستشفى ولم يسمح لأهلها بزيارتها لفترات طويلة.#علياء_عبد_النور_قُتلت.
Translation: “Alia was killed. Alia was subjected to medical negligence and was denied access to proper medical treatment while she was in the hospital and was denied of seeing her parents for long periods of time.”
Activists have highlighted the irony in the UAE’s declaration of 2019 as the “Year of Tolerance” around the nation while in fact killing dissidents in prisons.
Alia’s story has also received massive support among Syrian activists, who remembered her for the financial and moral support she provided during the start of Syria’s revolution in 2011 when Syrians went to streets to demand freedom and strongman Bashar Assad to leave.
علياء عبد النور مواطنة إماراتية أيّدت الثورة السورية وساعدت المنكوبين من براميل الأسد فحكم عليها نظام بن زايد بالسجن 10 سنوات— قتيبة ياسين (@k7ybnd99) May 4, 2019
توفيت اليوم علياء في سجنها المظلم
فيما يتمتع أبناء الأسد ومخلوف والقذافي وحفتر بالحرية تحت أشعة شمس "التسامح والسعادة" الدافئة#علياء_عبد_النور
Translation: “Alia Abdel Nour is an Emirati citizen who supported the Syrian revolution and helped victims of Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs, leading Zayed’s regime [Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan- the founder of the United Arab Emirates] to sentence her 10 years in prison. Today, Alia died in her dark [prison] cell while Assad’s, Makhlouf’s [Powerful family in Syria] and Gaddafi's’ families are enjoying their freedom of “tolerance and happiness”.
Alia’s family and Human Rights Watch had for long urged Emirati authorities and the international community to pressure the UAE into Alia’s release. While the UAE did not detail her conviction, Alia’s family believe it is related to small donations their daughter made to Syrian families at the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011.
Earlier in 2017, UK-based Arab Organisation for Human Rights released an audio recording said to be a phone call between Alia and her parents.
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