“UAE94” detainee Abdulsalam Al Marzooqi held arbitrarily since 2012

“UAE94” detainee Abdulsalam Al Marzooqi held arbitrarily since 2012

On July 24, 2012, Abdulsalam Mohamed Derwish Al Marzooqi was arrested as part of the UAE authorities’ crackdown on the “UAE94”. On July 2, 2013, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced Al Marzooqi to ten years’ imprisonment, for acts related to the exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and of association. In 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued Opinion No. 60/2013, urging the authorities to release him immediately. However, he remains arbitrarily detained in Al Razeen prison.
Latest Updates
March 9, 2021: MENA Rights Group submits follow-up information on Al Marzooqi’s situation to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
November 22, 2013: The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopts Opinion No. 60/2013 concerning 61 individuals and declares the detention of Al Marzooqi to be arbitrary. Al Marzooqi continues to be held at Al Razeen prison.
July 2, 2013: Al Marzooqi is sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, followed by three years’ probation.
March 4, 2013: Al Marzooqi’s trial before the State Security Chamber within the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi begins.
July 24, 2012: Al Marzooqi is arrested in the street.

In March 2011, the UAE carried out a comprehensive crackdown on the Reform and Social Guidance Association (Al Islah). In 2013, the UAE then engaged in a controversial mass trial of 94 individuals commonly referred to as the “UAE94”; 94 intellectuals, activists, and human rights defenders who had openly criticised the Emirati government. All of them were accused of having ties with Al Islah.

On July 24, 2012, Al Marzooqi was arrested as part of the “UAE94”. Subsequently, he was held in solitary confinement in a secret location for eight months. He was deprived of his right to see his lawyer and his family and was subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including threats to cut off his medicine.

On November 26, 2012, Al Marzooqi was allowed to see his family members for the first time at the State Prosecution’s office. His family reported that he appeared to be in poor health.

On March 4, 2013, the trial of Al Marzooqi before the State Security Chamber within the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi began. He was informed of the vague charges brought against him, namely “establishing and running a secret organisation seeking to oppose the basic principles of the UAE system of governance and to seize power and having links and affiliations to organisations with foreign agendas”. On March 9, 2013, he was transferred from the secret detention facility to Al Razeen prison.

On July 2, 2013, Al Marzooqi was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, followed by three years’ probation. He was denied the right to appeal to a higher jurisdiction.

In September 2013, Al Marzooqi suffered from a facial nerve paralysis. Requests by his family to allow Al Marzooqi to access medical treatment were rejected.

On November 22, 2013, The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted Opinion No. 60/2013 and declared the detention of Al Marzooqi to be arbitrary. It considered, inter alia, the arrest to have resulted from the exercise of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Despite the request of the Working Group to release Al Marzooqi and to provide him with compensation, he is currently still detained at Al Razeen prison.

On May 21, 2014, a letter jointly written by family members of “UAE94” detainees was delivered to the Minister of Interior. It detailed the violations suffered by the detainees in Al Razeen prison, such as mistreatment by prison guards, among others, regular placement in solitary confinement and malnutrition. The Ministry has not responded to the letter, nor have other complaints addressed to police officials, prison administration members or UAE leaders been answered.

On March 9, 2021, MENA Rights Group submitted follow-up information on Al Marzooqi’s situation to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Since the issuance of Opinion No. 60/2013, Al Marzooqi’s health condition has further deteriorated, as a result of deliberate medical negligence and denial of appropriate medical care. He has further reported restrictions to contact with his family and to religious practice.