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In the spotlight: Dr Mohammed Al-Roken (UAE), prisoner of conscience

Dr Mohammed al-Roken

The focus on prisoners of conscience is central to the work of Amnesty International. One way that local groups can work on prisoners of conscience is by adopting a specific prisoner of conscience and then campaigning on his or her case until they are released. The Sutton Amnesty group recently decided to adopt Dr Mohammed al-Roken, who is from the United Arab Emirates.

We want to use this post to introduce you to Dr Mohammed al-Roken and encourage you to join us and campaign for his release.

Who is Dr Mohammed al-Roken?

Dr Mohammed al-Roken is a professor of constitutional law and human rights lawyer serving a 10-year prison sentence in the UAE following his conviction on 2 July 2013 in a mass trial of 94 activists, which became widely known as the “UAE 94” trial. Mohammed al-Roken has been a member of Amnesty International and linked closely to the organization for around 20 years. For over a decade before his imprisonment, he was the organization’s main contact for work on the UAE. He holds a PhD in Constitutional Law from the University of Warwick, is the former president of the UAE’s Jurists Association from the emirate of Dubai and is a member of the International Bar Association. He has written several books on human rights, counter-terrorism laws and freedom of expression. He has been harassed for a number of years because of his human rights work.

Mohammed al-Roken has been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and association, including his right to peacefully form and join in association with others, and for his work as a defence lawyer representing his clients and his advocacy efforts on behalf of human rights. He was arrested on 17 July 2012; hours after his son and son-in-law had been arrested.

Amnesty International believes that Dr al-Roken’s trial was grossly unfair and marred by a catalogue of human rights violations.

Amnesty International is asking for:

  • Mohammed al-Roken to be released immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and association
  • Mohammed al-Roken to be able to exercise his right to freedom of expression and association without harassment and intimidation
  • Mohammed al-Roken’s license to practice law to be restored so that he is able to practice law without fear of harassment, arrest or detention.

How can you help free Mohammed al-Roken?

If you want to help, there are several ways to do this:

  1. You can raise awareness for Mohammed al-Roken on Social Media. If you tweet about him, then please use the hashtag #FreeAlRoken. You can send tweets to HH Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Matkoum @HHShkMohd and His Highness President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan @MohamedBinZayed.
  2. We have started a letter rota to make sure that once a week at least one letter will be sent to the UAE authorities asking for Mohammed al-Roken’s release. If you want to join this letter rota, please get in contact.

We hope to constantly remind the UAE authorities that Mohammed al-Roken is not forgotten and that we will not be quiet until he is finally released. Please help us with this task.

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