now lebanon:Amnesty demands UAE free rights lawyers
Amnesty International demanded on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates free two prominent human rights lawyers arrested in recent days.
Mohammed al-Roken, a long-time Amnesty member and a well-known human rights defender and lawyer, was arrested on Tuesday as he drove to a Dubai police station to report the disappearance of his son Rashid and son-in-law Abdullah al-Hajeri.
Amnesty said he was one of the defense lawyers in last year’s prominent case of five political activists who were arrested, tried and imprisoned for defaming top UAE government officials.
It said he was among 13 men, including fellow human rights lawyer and former head of the UAE Jurists’ Association, Mohammed al-Mansoori, who have been arrested since Monday.
“We believe Mohammed al-Roken and Mohammed al-Mansoori to be prisoners of conscience, held solely on account of their defense work as lawyers and other peaceful human rights activities,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty’s deputy Middle East and North Africa program director.
“This is not the first time they have been persecuted for their legitimate human rights work. They must be released immediately and unconditionally.
“The UAE authorities must halt this intensified crackdown on human rights defenders and other activists across the Emirates.”
Roken has also been involved in defending seven Islamists whose citizenship was revoked by UAE authorities for alleged terror links.
The UAE, a federation of seven emirates led by oil-rich Abu Dhabi, has not seen any popular protests calling for reforms like those that have swept other Arab countries, including nearby Bahrain and Oman.
But the government has increased its clampdown on voices of dissent and calls for democratic reforms.