The UAE announced, on Wednesday, that it had received from Jordan an Emirati citizen with Turkish citizenship, who had been sentenced in absentia for ten years to 15 years in prison on charges of establishing an organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Emirates News Agency, WAM, said that the UAE had received from the Jordanian authorities the “terrorist Khalaf Abd al-Rahman Hamid al-Rumaithi,” who was among 69 people linked to the Muslim Brotherhood who were sentenced by the Federal Supreme Court in the Emirates, in July 2013, to imprisonment between 7 and 15 years on charges of Creation of a secret organization aimed at overthrowing the regime.
At the time, human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Gulf Center for Human Rights, considered their conviction “unfair”, noting that they had only exercised their right to freely express themselves.
On May 7, Al-Rumaithi (58 years old) was stopped at Amman airport while trying to enter Jordan from Turkey. He has been in exile since his conviction, using his Turkish passport, according to an arrest warrant issued by the Jordanian police at the request of the UAE. He was later released on bail and allowed to enter Jordan, according to what his lawyers told Human Rights Watch.
The next day, four plainclothes police officers arrested Al-Rumaithi while he was sitting with a friend in an Amman café. Jordanian police later raided his hotel room and confiscated his bags, clothes and electronic devices, according to his lawyer.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet responded to a request for comment on the Human Rights Watch statement, according to Reuters.
On May 9, during a session attended by lawyers with Al-Rumaithi, a Jordanian court canceled his bail, ordered his transfer to prison, and presented a copy of the extradition request to the UAE. His lawyers say they have not been able to contact him since.
In 2013, the UAE prosecuted 94 people belonging to or supporting the banned “Society for Reform and Social Guidance” linked to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is classified as “terrorist” in the Emirates, in a case known as the “UAE 94”. At the end of the trial, 69 defendants, including Al-Rumaithi, were convicted of “belonging to an illegal secret organization and plotting against the country’s regime,” while acquitting 25 other defendants in the same case, including 13 women.
And according to what was stated on the Emirates News Agency, on Wednesday, “Al-Rumaithi will be re-tried again” in accordance with the provisions of UAE law.
The agency stated that the procedures for Al-Rumaithi’s extradition took place in accordance with “the agreements concluded on legal and judicial cooperation of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers concerned with the prosecution of criminals fleeing criminal justice in Arab countries.”
On the other hand, Human Rights Watch says that the Jordanian constitution prohibits the extradition of “political refugees” on the basis of “their political principles or their defense of freedom.”