Jailed UAE lawyer awarded major human rights prize


ROME: A UAE lawyer sentenced to 10 years in 2013 for plotting against the regime was on Saturday awarded a major human rights award. Mohammed al-Roken was among 69 people jailed on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government following a mass trial criticized by rights groups. Awarding him the Ludovic Trarieux Award, the prize committee said Roken had devoted two decades to defending fundamental freedoms. Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director at the time staunchly criticized both the proceedings and the verdicts. According to Amnesty the trial “was marred by allegations of torture which were blatantly ignored, the rights of defence were flaunted, and independent observers were banned from the court room.” The annual award, which is worth 20,000 euros ($22,000), recognizes lawyers of any nationality who have sought to defend human rights, often at great risk to themselves.



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