Updated on October 30, 2021: Al-Marzooqi remains imprisoned since his conviction by the Union Supreme Court on July 2, 2013. He has served eight years of his 10-year prison sentence.
Abdulsalam Mohamed Darwish al-Marzooqi was defendant number 11 of the "UAE 94", a group of 94 individuals linked to al-Islah, an Emirati civil society organization officially founded in 1974. The UAE authorities accused the group of attempting to overthrow the government because they advocated for democratic reforms. The Union Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced 69 of the 94 on July 2, 2013 to up to 15 years in prison for their peaceful activism.
UAE's State Security forces arrested al-Marzooqi on July 23, 2012, forcibly disappeared him for 21 days, and kept him in solitary confinement at a secret detention facility for close to eight months. Al-Marzooqi testified at a court hearing on May 7, 2013, that security forces tortured him throughout his detention. His ill treatment continued even after the authorities moved him to al-Razeen prison in Abu Dhabi. On July 2, 2013, and after many fair trial violations, judges Falah al-Hajri, and Abdulqadir Rasul, and Abdul Rasul Tantawi of the Union Supreme Court, the UAE's highest court, sentenced him to 10 years in prison followed by three years of probation.
In addition to his torture and ill-treatment, the authorities retaliated against him and his family by revoking his and his children's citizenship and cutting off government-provided medical aid to his disabled sons, while also denying his daughters' academic grants and fellowships for which they qualified. The authorities also froze al-Marzooqi's salary and pension payments to his family. Al-Marzooqi's health has deteriorated since his arrest. ٍٍٍHe has not seen his only daughter, who has been in the UAE since 2017, and the rest of his family since 2016.
DAWN researchers interviewed sources close to al-Marzooqi and obtained documents related to his prosecution, both published and unpublished, including official court documents, unpublished manuscripts, and contemporaneous notes collected by those who closely followed the trials of the "UAE 94." DAWN also relied on published articles and reports by human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ALQST, the Gulf Center for Human Rights, and others, to corroborate the violations and the information provided by two sources whom DAWN interviewed:
Source A: DAWN interviewed this source on June 7, 2021, and over the next month exchanged dozens of encrypted messages, reviewing dates and details of the violations faced by al-Marzooqi and his family. Source A also provided primary source documents, some of which DAWN compared to its own documents on the "UAE 94" case collected from other sources. Source A is close to al-Marzooqi and his family and experienced many of the events described below.
Source H: Source H was one of the "UAE 94" defendants and close to many of those who were detained and sentenced. We obtained legal documents, warrants, and memoranda from Source H that helped us verify the information, names, and dates in this case. DAWN has been in touch with Source H since July 7, 2020, and interviewed them to corroborate facts on June 20, 2021.
DAWN does not disclose the identity of these sources to protect their security. All of the information below has come either from these sources or been corroborated by them.
Personal and Professional Background
According to documents provided by Source A, Abdulsalam Mohamed Darwish al-Marzooqi was born on December 19, 1970, and is a married father of six. He received a B.A. in Islamic Educational Pedagogy from Emirates University in 1994. Al-Marzooqi was the head of the Family Reconciliation services of the Dubai Courts where he worked on reconciling families and resolving conflicts between family members through mediation. He was also the general supervisor of al-Bedaya TV channel
Al-Marzooqi is an experienced educator. A list describes his background, including numerous awards he received for his roles as a teacher in al-Sharjah, UAE (1997), for Exemplary Public Service in Dubai (2002), and al-Sharjah's Volunteer (2004), an award supervised by Voluntary Work Committee, under the patronage of Shaikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of UAE and the Ruler of Sharjah. He played a key role in developing Islamic educational curricula for the United Arab Emirates' Ministry of Education and Youth from 1990 to 2000. He produced and hosted programs on al-Sharjah TV from 1996 to 2000. He was also a Friday preacher at a number of mosques in al-Sharjah.
Circumstances of Arrest
According to Source H with direct knowledge, State Security agents in civilian clothes, without an arrest warrant and led by Captain Ali Saif, arrested al-Marzooqi around 11 pm on the night of July 23, 2012 when he was on his way home from the mosque. They drove him around in a black SUV car for a few hours, for unclear reasons.
They then brought him handcuffed to his house to search it around 2:00 am on July 24, 2012. According to information collected from eyewitness accounts by Source H and provided to DAWN, eight armed State Security agents in civilian clothes – six men and two women – and led by Captain Ali Saif and Policewoman Ghaya Khelfan, entered and searched al-Marzooqi's house. More armed agents were stationed outside the house. They thoroughly searched his house, and especially his study, without a search warrant and confiscated his electronic devices. Despite his wife's requests, the armed agents refused to identify themselves, present a search warrant, or explain the reasons for the arrests and search or where they were taking al-Marzooqi. They also refused to take his medication for severe pain due to kidney stones for which he had been treated at a hospital days earlier.
According to the prosecutors' legal memorandum of the indictment, a copy of which DAWN obtained, acting Advocate General al-Dhanhani charged al-Marzooqi, along with 93 other activists and intellectuals, under articles 117, 180, and 182 of the UAE Penal Code, with establishing and managing an illegal association, the al-Islah Association, which the Emirati prosecution described as a "Muslim Brotherhood affiliated group" that seeks to overthrow the government and has links and affiliations to organizations with foreign agendas.
The Union Supreme Court convicted al-Marzooqi on July 2, 2013 on these charges and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment, followed by three years' probation. The Court also convicted 68 of the remaining 93 defendants and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from seven to 15 years. In court, the prosecution also cited Article 155 of the UAE Penal Code, which imposes "life imprisonment if any of the following acts is committed in time of peace, and to death if any of these acts is committed in time of war: 1- Any person who seeks or communicates with a foreign country or any of its agents working on its behalf to prejudice the military, political or economic position of the State."
Trial and Legal Proceedings
State Security agents brought al-Marzooqi before the Public Prosecution twice, on July 26, 2012, and August 1, 2012. Both were in front of prosecutor Saqr Saif al-Naqbi, who extended his pre-trial detention for seven and 14 days, respectively.
The State Security Circuit of the Union Supreme Court extended Al-Marzooqi's pretrial detention on six additional occasions. On three of these occasions, neither he nor anyone representing him were present and the court extended his pretrial detention by a month each time, on September 13; October 10; and November 11, 2012.
State Security officials brought him to the court on or about December 10, 2012, where the judge extended his pretrial detention by two months. At the hearing, he complained to Judge Muhammad Ahmed Abdel Qader that the authorities were denying him access to his lawyers, holding him in solitary confinement, constantly exposing him to bright light, and further ill treating him. He asked to have access to books and newspapers, and to other rights as a prisoner per UAE laws.
Al-Marzooqi's final pretrial extension took place on January 9, 2013, where the judge ordered another two months of pre-trial detention. Al-Marzooqi repeated his previous complaints and requests, but nothing changed.
The first session of Al-Marzooqi's trial, case number 79/2012, took place on March 4, 2013, at the State Security Circuit of the Union Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. He was one of 94 suspects (81 men and 13 women) on trial. The judging panel was composed of the Presiding Judge Falah al-Hajri and judges Abdulqadir Rasul and Abdul Rasul Tantawi. Acting Advocate General al-Dhanhani charged al-Marzooqi and 93 others with seeking to overthrow the government and maintaining links and affiliations to organizations with foreign agendas by establishing and managing the al-Islah Association. Al-Dhanhani asked for the "harshest sentence" against them. The judging panel ordered the security forces to move al-Marzooqi and all other detainees to formally recognized prisons.
During the second session on March 11, 2013, the 94 defendants asked for a temporary release and complained of mistreatment and procedural violations.
In the third session on March 18, 2013, the public prosecution offered testimony from witnesses, all state officials, who, he said, testify to the "hidden agenda" of the al-Islah association and its links to the Muslim Brotherhood: Abdullah Murad al-Balushi, Colonel of the Security Service; Jassim Mohammed Saif, Major in the Security Apparatus; and Ali Saif Al-Mazrouei, Captain of the Security Apparatus.
In the fourth session on March 19, 2013, the public prosecution introduced the organizational structure and annual plan of the al-Islah Association as "evidence" that defendants were conspiring against the state.
In the fifth session on March 26, 2013, the prosecution presented secretly recorded video and audio recordings of some of the defendants participating in meetings, which the prosecutor said proved the allegations against them. The defendants said these were lawful meetings to discuss educational events.
In the sixth session on April 16, 2013, the prosecution presented the results of forensic evidence that linked the videos of the meetings of the al-Islah association to the defendants. The defendants said they were regular meetings of al-Islah to organize educational training and courses.
At the seventh session on April 30, 2013, defense lawyer Abdul Hamid al-Kumaiti presented defense witnesses who testified that the defendants had always been loyal to the country and its leaders. Al-Kumaiti said he could call 65 people who would testify that these defendants were innocent, but judge al-Hajri allowed only three, although the court records do not disclose their identities and testimony.
In the eight session on May 6, 2013, defense lawyer Abdul Hamid al-Kumaiti continued arguments and was joined by a new defense lawyer, Amal Khamees.
In the ninth session on May 7, 2013, the defense continued offering testimonies. In this session, al-Marzooqi testified to his abuse and forced confession:
Unfortunately, I did not expect that even during the interrogations I would be subjected to abuse. I suffer from chronic pain in my spinal discs, and after the arrest, the pain increased due to [the fact that I have been] chained. My hands and feet were cuffed for six hours in the police car. When I got to the prosecution's office, I swear to God that I signed papers without even reading them and they wrote answers that I didn't say.
At the ninth session, the Court finally supplied case files and documents containing its "evidence" against the defendants, despite repeated prior requests from the defendants to access them earlier, as they are entitled.
In the tenth session on May 13, 2013, the defense continued with its defense.
In the eleventh session May 14, 2013, the defense lawyer al-Kumaiti argued that procedural violations had taken place and questioned the validity of the "confessions" used by the prosecutors.
In the twelfth session on May 20, 2013, defendants presented their defense.
In the thirteenth session on May 21, 2013, the defense lawyer addressed the prosecution's claim that the defendants had links to international organizations like Human Rights Watch and asked that the prosecutors present proof of any specific criminal activity.
The fourteenth and final session took place on July 2, 2013. Al-Marzooqi was convicted under articles 117, 180, and 182 of the UAE Penal Code and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, followed by three years' probation. The Court also convicted 68 of the remaining 93 defendants and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from seven to 15 years.
Al-Marzooqi and all of the other defendants were denied the appeal. They were tried and sentenced by the Union Supreme Court, the highest court in the UAE.
The UAE State Security forces held al-Marzooqi incommunicado, in solitary confinement and at an undisclosed secret detention center for 21 days, from July 24, 2012, to August 14, 2012, when they allowed him a short, approximately two-minute, call to his family. According to Source A, State Security forces monitored al-Marzooqi's phone calls and prevented him from sharing any information about his condition or whereabouts. These short phone calls were the only communication State Security forces allowed him to have with the outside world during the first four months of his detention.
The UAE authorities allowed al-Marzooqi's family to visit him for the first time on November 26, 2012, four months after his detention. The visit took place after multiple requests and pleas by the family to the public prosecution's office in Abu Dhabi, and specifically to Acting Advocate General Ahmed Rashid al-Dhanhani. Source A said that his family reported that he appeared to be in poor health and had lost almost half of his weight. They also noticed that some of his beard was missing in places and that he looked apprehensively at the security officer throughout the visit.
State Security forces held al-Marzooqi in solitary confinement in a secret detention facility at an unknown location for the first seven and a half months of his detention until they transferred him to al-Razeen prison on March 9, 2013. On at least four occasions, the court extended his pretrial detention without his or his lawyer's knowledge.
On various occasions, prison authorities denied his family the right to visit him without an explanation. For example, according to a detailed record of violations faced by al-Marzooqi and provided to DAWN by Source A, al-Marzooqi's wife and children, including his three disabled sons, traveled three hours to visit him on July 8, 2013, six days after his sentence. But the prison authorities under the direction of the prison director, Suhail Matar, refused to allow them to see al-Marzooqi without any explanation and despite the family having authorization from the public prosecutor's office.
At his ninth trial session on May 7, 2013, al-Marzooqi described his torture and ill-treatment by prison authorities. This was when his family learned that the authorities subjected al-Marzooqi to various forms of physical and psychological torture and other ill-treatment, according to documents by sources A and H. The prison authorities denied him sunlight exposure, exercise, adequate clothing, newspapers, books, pens, and paper, according to Source A. On numerous occasions, they deprived him of sleep by exposing him to bright fluorescent lighting for hours without an end and purposefully keeping his prison cell temperature very cold. State Security agents and prison authorities threatened to cut off his diabetes and other medications.
At the ninth court session, according to Source A, Al-Marzooqi told judge Falah al-Hajri that his interrogators deliberately abused him physically and mentally to force him to sign documents without allowing him to read them. He said they claimed that they had no time to wait for him to read the documents because they needed to leave since it was the end of their working hours.
Before his arrest, al-Marzooqi had been suffering from kidney stones, diabetes, rheumatism, and back problems in three of his spinal discs. After his arrest, State Security forces gave him high doses of Ibuprofen that adversely affected his joints to the extent that he was unable to stand properly, according to Source A. Due to his detention conditions during the first three weeks of his detention, and in particular, being placed in a windowless cell with no bed or chair and deprived of sleep by State Security agents, he suffered shortness of breath, eye inflammation, and allergies.
Source A also said that State Security forces and prison authorities threatened to withhold al-Marzooqi's medications if he fasted during Ramadan. In addition, his back problems worsened after his arrest, affecting six discs, due to his mistreatment by authorities, including keeping him chained and denying him medical treatment.
To protest the deliberate medical negligence and deprivation of necessary medical treatment, al-Marzooqi went on a hunger strike on August 13, 2013, which aggravated his health problems. According to information provided to DAWN by Source A, in September 2013, al-Marzooqi suffered from facial nerve paralysis but prison authorities prevented his examination by medical specialists, as prescribed by the resident prison doctor. The prison authorities also denied him physiotherapy and medical care for his back pain and refused to allow him to use a physical therapy device brought to him by his family. The prison authorities provided him only with sedatives or pain killers, without any adequate medical supervision.
According to Source A, al-Marzooqi complained repeatedly of malnutrition and unhygienic prison conditions in 2014. He reported losing 30 kilograms (around 66 pounds) of his weight.
On February 11, 2014, al-Razeen prison authorities temporarily prevented all Cell 8 inmates, including al-Marzooqi, from praying, denied them phone calls, and moved them to solitary confinement as retaliation to one of them complaining to his family on the phone that the prayer room was closed. Later in October 2014, the authorities also prevented al-Marzooqi from accessing the outdoors courtyard and from exercising.
According to Source A, the prison authorities raided al-Marzooqi's cell in September 2015 and confiscated his personal items, including bed linens and covers. They also moved him to solitary confinement for three days before returning him to his cell.
Since 2016, the prison authorities have prevented al-Marzooqi from talking to his wife and children, who are abroad. They have only allowed him short phone calls to his daughter who is in the UAE, but they monitor these calls and apparently prohibit him from sharing any details of his current detention conditions.
Impact on Family
The UAE authorities revoked al-Marzooqi's and his children's citizenship in 2017. Authorities confiscated the identity card of his daughter, the only family member remaining in the UAE since July 2016 (when the rest of the family moved to the United States), and therefore prevented her from visiting him because prison authorities require identity cards for prison visitors.
According to documents provided to DAWN by Source A, security forces listened to the family's phone calls and interrogated anyone talking to them. The UAE authorities expelled a family friend, a Jordanian citizen residing and working in the UAE for over 30 years, from the country for contacting Darwish's family. They also briefly arrested another friend, a Kuwaiti citizen, for the same reason.
Since May 2017, the al-Razeen prison authorities have prevented all of al-Marzooqi's family who are abroad from calling or receiving phone calls from him. The same authorities have allowed his daughter in the UAE from calling al-Marzooqi, but regularly monitor and interrupt these phone calls. The UAE authorities also denied al-Marzooqi and his family from accessing his retirement savings, which was the main financial resource they possessed after his detention. They also suspended his salary in March 2014. .
According to documents provided by Source A, the UAE authorities also denied state grants and fellowships to al-Marzooqi's daughters to study abroad because they did not receive security clearance from the authorities, despite meeting the academic requirements for such grants.
In December 2016, the UAE Consulate in Boston informed the family that they will no longer receive payments for the treatment of al-Marzooqi's children who were being treated for disabilities at Boston Children's Hospital. The UAE otherwise provides such medical support to all UAE citizens.
According to information from Source A, intelligence agents threatened al-Marzooqi's wife and daughters with imprisonment if the latter wrote about his detention conditions in al-Razeen or if they criticized any government institution or official. Agents called al-Marzooqi's wife and daughters for interrogations in October 2013 and pressured them not to speak publicly. One of his daughters was 17 when interrogators summoned her for interrogation on August 25, 2014, and prevented her mother from accompanying her.
According to Source A, security agents forced al-Marzooqi's wife and daughters to sign pledges not to advocate for him and not to publish or share any information concerning their interrogation.
The UAE authorities removed al-Marzooqi's wife's name from their marriage registry, a government document identifying members of the same family, which is only supposed to occur in case of divorce or death. They also removed his sons' personal records from the government's electronic databases, which, according to Source A, forced the family to undergo extensive steps to restore them on numerous occasions.
Violations of Rights
The Right to Freedom of Expression, Association, and Participation in Public Affairs
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("Universal Declaration") guarantees individuals the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Governments cannot, under Article 19, restrict the right of citizens to engage in political discussion and debate.(A/HRC/RES/12/16).
Article 20 of the Universal Declaration grants the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
In detaining al-Marzooqi, the UAE sought to restrict his peaceful exercise of the aforementioned rights. Arbitrarily arresting individuals for peaceful dissent is incompatible with the right to freedom of expression and assembly (General Comment 34, para. 23).
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN WGAD) found that the arrest and detention of al-Marzooqi and 60 other detainees "resulted from the exercise of their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, guaranteed under articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
(see also Article 19, 22, 25, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR))
Freedom from Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty
Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees that no individual shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile. (Article 9, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
The UN WGAD hears cases of individuals who claim to have been detained in violation of Article 9. In November 2013, the Working Group found that the UAE had violated Article 9 in al-Marzooqi's case, along with 60 other detainees whom it also found to be arbitrarily detained (UN DOC A/HRC/WGAD/2013/60)
The UAE authorities arrested al-Marzooqi without an arrest warrant and detained him incommunicado without providing him any legal justification. They extended his detention without allowing him or his lawyer to attend all of the extension hearings. The UAE's detention of al-Marzooqi violated his right to freedom of expression, and thus also falls under the Article 9 definition of "arbitrary." Similarly, UAE State Security based his detention on proceedings that so gravely infringed upon his right to a fair trial that they must be adjudged to be arbitrary (Opinion No. 60/2013, para. 24).
The Right to Humane Treatment and the Prohibition of Torture
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration absolutelyprohibits the use of torture. The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates also guarantees this right under Article 26, stating, "No person shall be subjected to torture or to degrading treatment." The UAE is also party to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The UAE authorities subjected al-Marzooqi to torture and/or degrading treatment, thus breaching their international obligations and violating their own country's laws. They detained him in solitary confinement, constantly exposed him to bright light, and kept him in a very cold cell while denying him adequate clothing. They also denied him access to books and newspapers, and regularly denied his family visitation rights without a reason. This treatment constitutes a breach of the absolute prohibition on torture or degrading treatment under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration.
(Article 26, Constitution of the United Arab Emirates; Article 5, UDHR; Article 7, ICCPR; Article 2, 10 (1, 2), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)). It also violates (Principle 19, Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment; Rule 37, Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners).
The Right to a Fair Trial
Article 10 of the Universal Declaration grants individuals the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal. Article 13(1) of the Arab Charter on Human Rights provides that "everyone has the right to a fair trial that affords adequate guarantees before a competent independent and impartial court." (Article 10, UDHR; Article 13, 14, 16, Arab Charter on Human Rights; Article 14, ICCPR)
The UAE violated this provision in its prosecution and sentencing of al-Marzooqi. The prosecutor's legal memorandum laid uncertain and vague charges against al-Marzooqi, preventing the launch of an effective legal defense. The prosecutor, al-Dhanhani, kept al-Marzooqi in detention for more than five months. The Court prevented al-Marzooqi from accessing his lawyer until the trials were underway, and it only allowed him and his defense to access the "evidence" against him at the ninth court session, almost nine months after his arrest and two months into the trial.
The Court lacked sufficient independence from the executive for the trial to meet the standards of an independent and impartial tribunal established by law (General Comment 32, para.19). At least one of the three judges who ruled over the case, Abdul Rasul Tantawy, was an Egyptian national likely in the country on a work visa and subject to removal and deportation at any time. The Court convicted al-Marzooqi based on insufficient evidence of any acts constituting a cognizable crime, including confessions that, according to al-Marzooqi, were coerced. Al-Marzooqi was also denied the appeal.
Taken together, these factors demonstrate an undeniable violation of al-Marzooqi's right to a fair trial. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that the UAE government's treatment of al-Marzooqi had indeed violated Article 10 of the Universal Declaration (Opinion No. 60/2013, para. 23).
The Right to Nationality and Protections from its Arbitrary Deprivation
As a Member state, the UAE is obligated by the Charter of the United Nations, specifically Article 55(c) to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion". Article 15 of the UDHR states that "everyone has the right to a nationality" and "no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality".
Revoking his citizenship and of his children without justification and seemingly because of al-Marzooqi's conviction constitutes arbitrary deprivation of nationality and collective punishment, since his detention and deprivation of liberty are considered arbitrary and his trial unfair.
Officials Involved in Detention and Prosecution
Captain Ali Saif: Police Inspection Officer
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On July 24, 2012, Captain Ali Saif led a search of al-Marzooqi's house. He and the other officers wore civilian clothing, did not identify themselves to al-Marzooqi and his family, despite their numerous requests, and did not present an arrest or search warrant. They also confiscated al-Marzooqi's electronic devices.
Officer Ghaya Khelfan: UAE Policewoman
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On July 24, 2012, Officer Ghaya Khelfan was one of two female police officers and the lead female officer who participated in searching al-Marzooqi's house. She was dressed in civilian clothes and refused to identify herself, but sources who spoke to DAWN were able to verify her identity.
Acting Advocate General Ahmed Rashid al-Dhanhani
In 2009, Ahmed al-Dhanhani became the acting Advocate General and remained in that position until approximately April 2017. He prosecuted al-Marzooqi and the rest of the co-defendants in the case for their peaceful speech and advocacy, which are protected by international law, and he enforced prima facie unjust laws that criminalize dissent.
Although Emirati law permits authorities to hold a suspect in detention for just 14 days before charging him with a crime, al-Dhanhani took advantage of a provision that allows prosecutors to ask judges to extend indefinitely detention of suspects.
He requested the Union Supreme Court to renew al-Marzooqi's detention for five months before charging him on at least three occasions in hearings held without the presence of al-Marzooqi or his lawyer, and without providing them with evidence justifying the detention as required by articles 101, 106 and 110 of UAE's law of criminal procedure. For example, Article 110 states that "judges of the competent criminal court who may, after perusing the papers and hearing the accused statements, order the extension of the detention period for another period not exceeding thirty days, renewable." On at least three occasions, the Court renewed al-Marzooqi's pretrial detention without informing him and it allowed al-Marzooqi and his lawyer access to the evidence against him after the trial had already started. He asked the court to impose the "harshest sentence".
According to Source A, on August 8, 2012, al-Dhanhani refused to meet the families of some of the 94 defendants. Staff in al-Dhanhani's office also refused the family's requests to visit al-Marzooqi or to release him on bail.
Former Attorney General Salem Saeed Salem Kubaish
Salem Kubaish was Attorney General during al-Marzooqi's prosecution and remained in that position until his retirement in October 2016. As Attorney General, Kubaish oversaw the work of Advocate General al-Dhanhani, who was in charge of al-Marzooqi's prosecution. Under Kubaish's supervision, al-Dhanhani prosecuted al-Marzooqi and his co-defendants for their peaceful activism that is protected by international human rights law and enforced prima facie unjust laws that criminalize dissent. He also oversaw the requests for his pretrial detention and for a harsh sentence.
Judge Falah al-Hajri, a judge at the Union Supreme Court
Judge Falah al-Hajri was the head of the judicial panel that convicted al-Marzooqi and the other co-defendants. He did so based on confessions obtained in unofficial detention centers and under coercion, even though the defendants, including al-Marzooqi, testified about the coerced nature of their confessions.
Al-Hajri also ignored the defendants' allegations of torture and mistreatment. He convicted al-Marzooqi and his co-defendants for their peaceful activism and affiliations, protected by international law and norms of freedom of expression and association, based on prima facie unjust laws.
Judge Muhammad Hamad Abd al-Qadir, judge at Union Supreme Court
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Muhammad Abd al-Qadir extended al-Marzooqi's pretrial detention five times, before prosecutors even charged al-Marzooqi with a crime, even though he knew that the State Security held al-Marzooqi in an unofficial detention center, in violation of UAE law. He did so without summoning al-Marzooqi or his lawyer to the hearing for three of the five times, a gross violation of Article 110 of the UAE Criminal Procedure Law, which gives a defendant the right to be present at such hearings, and in violation of international standards of due process. During the last two sessions, on December 10, 2012, and January 9, 2013, al-Marzooqi informed Abd al-Qadir of the torture and ill-treatment he was facing, but the judge did nothing to investigate al-Marzooqi's allegations or protect him.
Judge Abdul Wahab Abdool, former President of the Union Supreme Court in the UAE
Judge Abdul Wahab Abdool was President of the Union Supreme Court during al-Marzooqi's trial.
On August 15, 2012, al-Marzooqi's lawyer, Abdul Hamid al-Kumaiti, filed an appeal with Abdool against the decision to extend al-Marzooqi's pretrial detention. Abdool ignored the appeal and did not rule on it.
Prosecutor Saqr Saif al-Naqbi
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Saqr al-Naqbi was the First Deputy of the State Security Prosecutor's Office who interrogated al-Marzooqi and many of the defendants of the "UAE 94." Al-Marzooqi said that Al-Naqbi coerced him and others to sign documents, some of which contained their alleged "confessions", without allowing them to read its content. Al-Naqbi was informed of the torture and ill-treatment some of the defendants were facing at secret detention facilities but did nothing to end it even though he was a state prosecutor. He extended al-Marzooqi's first two pretrial detention extensions at a time the security forces were holding al-Marzooqi at a secret detention facility and torturing him.
Judge Abdul Rasul Tantawy
Abdul Rasul Tantawy (first from the right) is an Egyptian Appeals court judge who ruled on the appeals of death penalty cases in Egypt as recently as February and December 2020. He was one of the three members of the judging panel that convicted and sentenced 69 individuals of the "UAE 94."
Tantawy ignored the defendants' allegations of torture and mistreatment. He convicted al-Marzooqi and his co-defendants for their peaceful activism and affiliations, protected by international law and norms of freedom of expression and association, based on prima facie unjust laws.
Judge Abdulqadir Rasul
Abdulqadir Rasul (first from the left) was one of the three members of the judging panel that convicted and sentenced 69 individuals of the "UAE 94" on July 2, 2013. His nationality is unknown.
Rasuli ignored the defendants' allegations of torture and mistreatment. He convicted al-Marzooqi and his co-defendants for their peaceful activism and affiliations, protected by international law and norms of freedom of expression and association, based on prima facie unjust laws.
Suhail Matar, al-Razeen Prison Warden
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Suhail Matar was the prison warden of al-Razeen where al-Marzooqi and others of the "UAE 94" were transferred on March 9, 2013, after months of being detained in a secret location.
According to a number of prisoners, including al-Marzooqi, Matar was the person who in 2014 issued arbitrary orders to the al-Razeen security guards to limit the number of visitors, to deny families from visiting prisoners even when they had authorization and traveled long distances, to deny visitors access to toilets and prayer areas, and to search them in a degrading manner. According to al-Marzooqi, when prison authorities finally allowed the prisoners access to newspapers in al-Razeen, it was Matar who destroyed newspapers before handing them over to the prisoners.
- On June 1, 2021, three human rights organizations – ALQST, MENA Rights Group, and the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights – requested the intervention of the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues in relation to the revocation of al-Marzooqi's and his children's citizenship.
- On April 15, 2021, MENA Rights Group referred al-Marzooqi's case to the UN Secretary-General for intimidation and reprisals for cooperation with the UN on human rights issues.
- In September 2020, US Congressman Jim McGovern called for the release of al-Marzooqi, adding that al-Marzooqi's human rights "have been violated repeatedly since his warrantless arrest in 2012."
- On June 24, 2020, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights called for al-Marzooqi's immediate release and an end to the systematic violations against him and his family.
- On March 5, 2015, the Gulf Center for Human Rights published a detailed report on torture and abuse in UAE prisons, detailing the torture, other ill-treatment, and harassment faced by al-Marzooqi.
- In August 2013, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances issued a statement addressing the plight of detained al-Islah members, including al-Marzooqi, and calling for their release.
- In September 2012, the Secretary General of Amnesty International spoke about the mass arrests that targeted members of the UAE 94, including al-Marzooqi, and condemned the crackdown against intellectuals and activists.
- On August 1, 2012, Human Rights Watch issued a statement requesting that the United States and the United Kingdom call on the UAE to release 50 detainees, including al-Marzooqi.
Photo Credits: Illustration by Marjan Farsad.