Istanbul (dpa) – Eight people in the United Arab Emirates were “forcibly disappeared” by the authorities and another 12 people are being held in incommunicado in detention, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
Those whose whereabouts remain unknown include political activists, such as an advisor to the son of Egypt’s ousted president Mohammed Morsi.
The people were summoned to police stations after they “posted comments critical of the government on social media,” the rights group said. Since then, they have not been heard from.
The UAE backed the military-led coup in Egypt which overthrow Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, paving the way for the current leader, President Abdul Fatah al-Sissi.
The Emirates have arbitrarily detained dozens of people critical of the government or linked to political Islamic groups, according to the rights group.
The criticism of the government often focused on detention conditions and torture.
“UAE authorities should stop using enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention to harass and cow their critics,” said Joe Stork at Human Rights Watch.
“The UAE authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of anyone they are holding.”
Rights groups have voiced concern that repression has been on the rise in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain since the Arab uprisings in 2011.
Saudi Arabia has been jailing independent rights campaigners and has been under heavy international criticism over the flogging of liberal activist Raif Badawi.