On the eight anniversary of the mass “UAE 94” trial that imprisoned dozens of government critics and reform activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lawyers for Lawyers expresses concern about the continued detention of the lawyers Dr. Mohammed al-Roken, Salem al-Shehhi, Dr. Mohammed al-Mansoori, and Hadif al-Owais who were who were sentenced to 10 years in prison in July 2013 for plotting to overthrow the Government.
Dr. Al-Roken is well-known for defending victims of human rights violations in the UAE. He was the lawyer for some members of the “UAE 5”, five individuals sentenced to two to three years’ imprisonment in 2012 for having expressed criticism of government policies. In recognition of his courageous human rights work, Dr. Al-Roken was shortlisted as finalist for the 2017 Lawyers for Lawyers Award.
Al-Roken was arrested on 17 July 2012, after calling for political reforms in the country and signing an online petition calling for democratic reforms in March 2011. On 2 July 2013, Dr. Al-Roken was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with additional administrative control measures and forbade him from practicing his profession as a lawyer. Following his arrest, Dr. Al-Roken was detained in solitary confinement at an undisclosed location for 8 months, without access to his lawyer and his family.
Dr. Mohamed al-Mansoori is a prominent lawyer working on human rights issues and was the former head of the United Arab Emirates Jurists’ Association board, which was dissolved by the authorities in 2011. He was arrested on 16 July 2012 after signing an online petition calling for democratic reforms. On 2 July 2013, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Dr. Al-Mansoori had not been allowed to contact his family for over a year, and was only permitted to do so recently.