Alia Abdel Nour was 42 years old when she died on 05 May, 2019, shackled to a bed in the United Arab Emirates’ Tawan hospital.
She was detained in 2015 and kept incommunicado for 6 months, during which time, according to her family, she was tortured, subjected to inhumane and degrading conditions and forced to sign a confession without being allowed to read it. This confession was used to convict her for terrorism and sentence her to 10 years in prison.
Alia’s family believe the case is related to small donations she made to Syrian families at the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011.
Soon after her arrest, Alia was diagnosed with breast cancer but she never received adequate treatment and, due to the lack of medical care and the degrading conditions in which she was detained, her health deteriorated quickly.
Even after the doctors determined she would only live for a few more months, United Arab Emirates authorities refused all requests from her family and international organizations for a compassionate release on health grounds, which is a violation of both international and domestic law.
She was only hospitalized when it was too late for proper treatment and received mere palliative care. Even then, she had her hands and feet chained to the hospital bed and was denied regular visits from her family, which is also a violation of Emirati law once family member of prisoners with terminal illnesses should be given unimpeded access for visitations.
The death of Alia Abdel Nour, her ill treatment and the complete disregard UAE authorities showed to her health, her rights and the laws, all demonstrate the hypocrisy of UAE marking 2019 as the “Year of Tolerance”.