On November 21st, British PhD student Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life in prison at a UAE court. Mr Hedges has been detained in the United Arab Emirates since his arrest at Dubai airport in May after he spent two weeks in the UAE conducting interviews for his doctoral thesis.
The arrest and sentencing of Mr Hedges comes on top of an ongoing crackdown on critical voices and dissidents in the UAE, including the continued incommunicado detention of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor.
1. Is the HR/VP aware of the case of Mr Hedges and if so has she, in coordination with relevant UK authorities discussed his arrest, detention, sentencing and the need for his immediate release with UAE authorities at the highest level?
2. In February, the EU and the UAE signed a cooperation arrangement. Has the HR/VP under that framework brought up the human rights situation in the UAE as well as due process rights and free and fair trial principles for those held in the UAE on trumped up charges?
3. Given the use by UAE authorities of internet surveillance and dual-use technologies for internal repression against human rights defenders and journalists, will the HR/VP propose an EU-wide ban on the export of any such equipment and technology to the UAE at next week’s foreign affairs council?