what do you think about the UPR recommendations to the United Arab Emirates?

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Geneva, October 19, 2017

The UAE authorities are still refusing to release the prominent human rights activist and lawyer Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, who was awarded the Ludovic Trario Award for Human Rights in 2017 and Al Karama Award for 2012, and was also the President of the UAE Jurists Association from 1998 until 2004 and again for the term 2010-2013.

Emirati officials did not pay any attention to the recurrent claims of the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights, the International Association of Lawyers and the European Observatory for Human Rights calling for the release of Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, despite the fact that the UAE will be taking in part in the Universal Periodic Review before the Human Rights Council in January 2018.

Indeed, 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. They are also violating Dr. Mohammed Al Roken’s right as a lawyer to participate in public debates, provide justice, promote and protect human rights, or form and attend national and international organizations in accordance with the basic principles on the role of lawyers adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, 7 September 1990.

The UAE authorities are also violating the provisions of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1998, which states that “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels".

In fact, Dr. Mohammed Al Roken had his house raided and inspected without any judicial warrant, and was arrested on July 17, 2012 and later judged by the State Security Chamber on 2 July 2013 with a final judgment that cannot be appealed in any way, and was convicted to ten years’ imprisonment with administrative supervision and banned from exercising his profession as a lawyer, in addition to the fact that neither he nor the rest of the UAE 94 group have enjoyed their right to fair trial guarantees.

Dr. Mohammed Al Roken is currently being held at Al-Razeen prison where he was subjected to ill-treatment and solitary confinement, and suffered from panic attacks, high blood pressure and ear infections caused by the prison speakers playing loudly at midnight; in clear violation of the rights of prisoners guaranteed by the Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on Penal Institutions, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights would like to express its full support with the campaign of the International Association of Lawyers and to join all the organizations calling for the release of Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken, and therefore urges the authorities of the United Arab Emirates to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release the prominent lawyer and human rights activist Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken
  2. Open an impartial investigation by an independent committee to investigate the allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention that he has been subject to,
  3. Hold accountable all those involved in these violations, and grant Dr. Al Roken the right to remedy and redress and to work on his rehabilitation.
  4. Authorize professional bodies, trade unions, associations of lawyers, human rights organizations and UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of the judges and SR on human rights defenders, to visit Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken in his prison in order to examine the conditions of his imprisonment and document his rights violations and grievances.