2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven

United Arab Emirates

1870. By letter dated 17 October 2002, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 2001 regarding which no reply had been received.

Urgent appeals

1871. On 1 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and on the human rights of migrants concerning the forcible return Sabrina Imtiaz Syed who was said to be at risk of forcible return to Pakistan. She had reportedly asked her father, a Shi'a Muslim cleric, for his permission to marry a Pakistani national, Ashfaq Muhammad. Her father reportedly refused because the latter is a Sunni Muslim. The couple flew to Pakistan where they secretly married in September 2000. In February 2002, the couple allegedly told Sabrina Imtiaz Syed's parents that they were already married, and moved into an apartment together. Her parents reportedly severely beat the couple. Ashfaq Muhammad reported what had happened to the local police, but they did not take any action. The couple then flew to Pakistan, but while they were there Sabrina's relatives reportedly threatened to kill her. It is alleged that her parents asked her to return to Dubai, saying that they were ready to accept her marriage. She returned on 18 April, but was reportedly arrested on arrival at the airport and taken to an “immigration jail”. Her father met her there and allegedly told her that he had asked the authorities to revoke her visa and send her back to Pakistan, where his relatives would kill her for dishonouring the family by marrying against his wishes.

1872. By letter dated 2 August 2002, the Government replied that Sabrina Imtaz Syed had arrived in the country on 19 April 2002, when an enquiry in her case was conducted. Her legal guardian is said to have filed a report against her claiming that she had eloped. She was then referred to the Dubai Nationality and Immigration Service for investigation. She does not appear to have been held under arrest and left for Pakistan on 12 May 2002.

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small logo   This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.