Lawyers - United Arab Emirates

 The Law Society of Upper Canada Expresses Grave Concern about the Arrest and Detention of Lawyers in United Arab Emirates

The Law Society of Upper Canada condemns the recent arrest and detention of lawyers in the United Arab Emirates.

Reliable reports indicate that state security has arrested and detained Dr. Mohamed al-Mansoori, Dr. Mohamed 'Abdullah al-Roken, Salem al-Shehhi and other human rights defenders. 

Dr. Mohamed 'Abdullah al-Roken was one of the defence lawyers in the case of five UAE residents who were arrested in April 2011 for posting articles on an online forum that were critical of the UAE government and called for political reform.  He has been prevented from lecturing at University of Al Ain.  On July 17, 2012, Dr. al-Roken was driving to the police station in Dubai to tell the police that his son and brother-in law had been missing when he was arrested by authorities.  His son and brother-in law have also been detained.

Dr. Mohamed al-Mansoori is the former head of the UAE Jurists' Association.  He is also the deputy chairman for al-Islah.  He was dismissed from his position as legal advisor to the government of Ras Al Khaimah in January 2012 after he gave a TV interview in which he criticized restrictions on freedom of speech in the UAE. He has been barred from traveling since October 2007 and the government has refused to renew his passport since March 2008.  On July 16, 2012, Dr. al-Mansoori left the house to run an errand when he was approached by plainclothes officers and taken into custody.  25 to 28 officers came to the house and conducted an extensive search.  The officers took laptops, an iPad and papers.

Lawyer Salem al-Shehhi was arrested on July 18, 2012, when he went to the State Security Prosecutor's office to ask about his clients, Dr. al-Mansoori and al-Roken.

It is our understanding that Dr. al-Mansoori and Dr. al-Roken have been on hunger strike since August 12, 2012. 

Article 14 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights prohibits arbitrary detention and arrest Article 32 guarantees right to information and to freedom of expression and opinion. 

The Law Society of Upper Canada believes the arrest and detention of lawyers in the United Arab Emirates is meant to sanction their human rights activities and the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression and opinion.  The Law Society urges the Emirati authorities to,

The Law Society urges Emirati authorities to,

  1. immediately and unconditionally release and guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of lawyers and activists whose detention is arbitrary and is aimed at sanctioning their human rights activities;
  2. ensure that all lawyers can carry out their peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of arbitrary detention, ill treatment or other human rights violations;
  3. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  4. uphold the Rule of Law as defined by public international law.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for some 44,000 lawyers and 4,200 paralegals in the Province of Ontario, Canada and the Treasurer is the head of the Law Society.  The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.

The Law Society urges the legal community to intervene in support of members of the legal profession in United Arab Emiratesin their effort to maintain the independence of the legal profession, to advance the respect of human rights and to promote the rule of law.