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A member of Amnesty sentenced to 10 years in prison for the pursuit of democratic reform
United Arab Emirates, action created 1.12.2014, petition is active
Mohammed al-Roken is a professor of constitutional law and human rights lawyer, who is serving a ten-year prison sentence. He was convicted in a mass trial of 94 government critics known as the "UAE 94". The procedure, which violate a number of principles of fair trial, eventually indicted 69 people, including Mohammed who was convicted of attempting to overthrow the government.
Dr. Mohammed al-Roken is a professor of constitutional law and human rights lawyer, who is serving a ten-year prison sentence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after he was sentenced July 2, 2013 in a mass trial in the 94 activists. It is known under the brand name "UAE 94". Mohammed al-Roken is a member of Amnesty International and is closely connected with the organization for over twenty years. Before he was sentenced, Dr Mohammed al-Roken was the main contact for organizations working in the UAE.
He was among 69 people out of 94 who were sentenced to 7-15 years by the Federal High Court in the capital in Abu Dhabi - along with him who were convicted included other lawyers, judges, academics, students and activists. All were convicted for attempting to overthrow the government. The process was politically motivated to silence the voices calling for democratic reforms.
"UAE 94" was a very unfair trial. The defendants were denied access to lawyers while they were being held incommunicado in solitary confinement in a secret detention area where some spent up to a year. "Confession" was forced on prisoners through torture in court as evidence of their guilt. Their families have not received any information about where the detention facility is located. In addition, all were denied the right to appeal, which is contrary to UAE obligations under international law.
Mohammed al-Roken is the face of the case, Amnesty International is not only campaigning for him but also seven other prisoners convicted of "UAE 94". All of them were condemned solely on the basis of peaceful use of their right to freedom of expression and assembly. Moreover, Mohammed al-Rokena was condemned because of his work in the area of human rights.
Independent political activity in the United Arab Emirates is strictly limited. A small number of people in the country since the outbreak of mass demonstrations across the Middle East in early 2011 calling for greater accountability, transparency and democratization, had to face severe repression by government officials. Activists critical of the government were arrested and charged with vaguely worded offenses endangering national security. The country has adopted a new law on cyber-crime, according to which many normal activities on social media are considered illegal and carries with them the risk of imprisonment or monetary punishments.