Human Rights Watch: Advocating for a Prisoner Wrongly Held

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) held Mike Bryan Smith, a UK national, in detention for years beyond his criminal sentence. And in prison he was denied access to critical medical care after he received diagnoses of cancer and HIV. HRW’s documentation of Smith’s case revealed widespread abuses in the UAE that deny prisoners due process and medical treatment. HRW researcher Hiba Zayadin started working on Smith’s situation by reporting on how he and other prisoners were being ill-treated and denied life-saving medications—and by enlisting the help of public health groups.  We then picked up Smith’s case individually, liaised with British members of parliament to privately and publicly urge the UK to pressure UAE authorities to release him. Smith was eventually granted a pardon on medical grounds.  “I am certain this would not have happened were it not for the extraordinary support given to me by Hiba and HRW,” Smith said.

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