Rights group calls for the release of UAE detainee Mohammed al-Roken
The Geneva based International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) have called for the immediate and unconditional release of prominent Emirati lawyer and political activist, Mohammed al-Roken who has been imprisoned in the UAE since April 2015.
A statement issued today by the ICHJR said, “by imprisoning Dr. Mohammed Al Roken, the UAE authorities are thus violating a lawyer’s right to dignity, personal security and to a complete performance of his duties without intimidation, hindrance, threat or inappropriate interference in addition to his right to freedom of expression, association and meetings.”
The call shortly follows a campaign launched last week by the International Association of Lawyers (UIA) which urged the legal community to sign an open letter demanding the human rights lawyer's release.
In the letter, the UIA heavily condemns the Emirati authorities for treating al-Roken in a manner that contravenes international human rights legislation stating,
“Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken was subject to several human rights violations by the Emirati authorities. He was forcibly disappeared, arbitrarily arrested, harassed, abused, as well as denied family visits, access to his lawyer and the right to health treatments, in addition to being deprived of his right to a fair trial”
In 2015, Mohammed al-Roken was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government after signing a petition calling for democratic reforms in the UAE. He was among 69 people jailed following the infamous 'UAE 94' trial which was heavily criticised by groups such as the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) for contravening International legal standards.
Al-Roken is currently being held in Al-Razeen prison, a facility that predominantly holds political prisoners which in recent years has become notorious for its repressive conditions. Located in the desert 100km outside Abu Dhabi, Al-Razeen has been dubbed 'the Guantánamo of the UAE', by rights activists. Since his incarceration, there have been numerous reports suggesting that al-Rokin is being kept in solitary confinement and has endured all manner of mistreatment by authorities during his time there.
In May of this year, al-Roken was awarded the prestigious Ludovic Trarieux award for 'devoting two decades to defending fundamental freedoms'. On announcing their decision, the prize jury issued a statement which called for Al-Roken's immediate release and condemned the Emirati authorities for conducting al-Roken's trial behind closed doors
The case of Mohammed al-Roken is a further demonstration of the repression that lies at the heart of the UAE state where any public criticism of the authorities is regularly quashed in the most draconian manner. His continued detention serves no other purpose but to stifle freedom of expression in the UAE. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammed al-Roken.
Read more about UIA campaign: http://icfuae.org.uk/news/rights-group-launches-int-campaign-free-mohammed-al-roken