Amnesty raises concern over forcible deportation of UAE citizen

Amnesty raises concern over forcible deportation of UAE citizen
Heba Morayef, Amnesty International's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, urged UAE authorities to ensure al-Rumaithi has prompt access to legal representation, his family, and any necessary medical attention.

3 min read
18 May, 2023
Amnesty called on UAE to ensure fair treatment and respect for human rights [Getty]

Amnesty International has called on the UAE to ensure the safety and fair treatment of Khalaf al-Rumaithi, a Turkish-Emirati citizen who was forcibly deported from Jordan to the UAE.

In a statement on Thursday, the rights group emphasised the need to protect al-Rumaithi from torture and ill-treatment, and to guarantee that any retrial he may face adheres to international fair trial standards.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, urged the UAE to ensure al-Rumaithi has prompt access to legal representation, his family, and any necessary medical attention.

"As Khalaf al-Rumaithi's safety hangs in the balance, the Emirati authorities must prioritize his safety and allow him prompt access to a lawyer, his family and any medical attention he may require," Morayef said.

"They must ensure that any retrial takes place in accordance with international fair trial standards, including crucially ensuring that all charges brought are in accordance with international law," she added.

Al-Rumaithi, who had been living in Turkey for the past ten years, travelled to Jordan on 7 May to search for a school for his children.

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Upon arrival, airport security officials acting on a UAE request detained him for arrest and subsequent deportation.

Although released on bail and permitted entry into Jordan, he was arrested again on 8 May and secretly deported, in violation of a Jordanian court order, according to his lawyer Asem al-Omari.

Amnesty International said it received reports that al-Rumaithi's lawyer was denied access to his client after their last meeting at Jordan's Marka prison on the morning of 9 May.

"UAE-94" case

The UAE's Federal Supreme Court had sentenced al-Rumaithi in absentia to 15 years in prison in July 2013 as part of the controversial "UAE-94" case, involving 94 dissidents, including members of the al-Islah political movement. The trial was widely criticised for being unfair.

The state-owned Emirates News Agency announced al-Rumaithi's deportation and subsequent arrest, stating that he will face a retrial on charges of affiliation with an organisation "that aims to oppose the foundational principles of the UAE government".

Amnesty International said that the charge contradicts the right to freedom of association and violates international human rights law.

The "UAE-94" trial was marred by serious flaws, including prolonged periods of incommunicado detention for defendants and allegations of torture to extract confessions.

While 51 of the 69 men convicted in the case have completed their sentences, they continue to be unlawfully held.

In 2021, Amnesty International documented cases where UAE authorities stripped the families of two "UAE-94" prisoners of their Emirati nationality and prevented contact between the prisoners and their loved ones for extended periods.

Amnesty called for fair treatment and respect for human rights underscores the urgency of addressing the case of al-Rumaithi and ensuring his safety and well-being during any legal proceedings.