Open letter to UAE ambassador calling for the release of Dr Mohammed Al-Roken
Mr Mansoor Abulhoul
1-2 Grosvenor Crescent
Belgravia, London SW1X 7EE
8 July 2020
RE: RELEASE HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER DR MOHAMMED AL-ROKEN
We are writing to you to call for the release of Dr Mohammed Al-Roken, unjustly detained for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Dr Mohammed Al-Roken, a prominent human rights lawyer and academic, was arrested on 17 July 2012, subjected to an enforced disappearance and held incommunicado at an undisclosed location for over three months. During this time, he was denied access to a lawyer and the outside world.
He was tried alongside 93 other government critics in the grossly unfair mass “UAE 94” trial. Charged with ‘plotting to overthrow the government’, the defendants had signed a petition calling for democratic elections, an independent judiciary and legislative powers to be granted to the Federal National Council in the UAE. On 2 July 2013, he was sentenced to ten years in prison and denied the right to appeal.
Currently, he is detained at the notoriously repressive al-Razeen prison in Abu Dhabi, where he has been a victim of physical and psychological abuse. He has been subjected to music torture whereby prison wardens blasted propaganda music in his cell for hours on end at excruciatingly high volumes causing him to pass out due to high blood pressure. He has also been subjected to prolonged stretches in solitary confinement.
His atrocious prison conditions and poor health therefore make Dr Al-Roken highly vulnerable amid the coronavirus pandemic, which, as you know, has begun to spread in several Emirati prisons.
Dr Al-Roken has dedicated his life to the protection of human rights, especially within the UAE, which was recognised in 2017 as he was awarded the Ludovic Trarieaux Award International Human Rights Prize in absentia.
His incarceration is a direct reprisal against his work and activism, and we therefore consider him a prisoner of conscience. As long as he remains imprisoned, a grave injustice continues to stand.
With the first meeting of the newly-established National Human Rights Committee approaching, we urge you to use your influence as UAE ambassador to put the case of Dr Mohammed Al-Roken on the committee’s agenda.
We also call on you to take action against the systematic human rights violations in the UAE, and to foster the release of all prisoners of conscience.
The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE