Salem Al-Shehhi, born in 1980, is a human rights activist and lawyer. Early in his life, he was a teacher and then as a lawyer in the Tamimi office, one of the largest law firms in the Middle East.
After a TV interview, in which Salem criticized the arrest of the seven whose nationalities were withdrawn in a systematic campaign against group of human rights defenders and national figures, he was faced with an immediate dismissal.
His apprehension and trial
On July 17, 2012, UAE state security forces arrested the lawyer and human rights activist, Salem Al-Shehhi while going to the office of the State Prosecutor to follow up with his clients’ cases. He was placed in an unknown place until he appeared in court. It is worth noting that his clients are two human rights defenders, Dr. Muhammad Al-Mansouri, and Dr. Muhammad Abdullah Al-Roken.
As he was presented to the prosecution, Al-Shehhi pleaded for himself and argued for the nullity of the arrest procedures and the extension of illegal detention periods. During the pleading, he stressed the violation the UAE Security Service committed against the law, in which they arrested, searched him, and confiscated his personal properties with no legal reasons. Also, he mentioned that he was placed in solitary confinement for eight months, in cell without ventilation or a window. He was not allowed to see his family nor was he allowed to contact his lawyers.
Al-Shehhi confirmed that he was subjected harassment as a lawyer while defending two detainees in the same case. Also, the detainees were subjected to various forms of torture and human rights violations. Blindfolded during interrogation, he was threatened and intimated in an attempt to extract untrue confessions. In addition, the UAE authorities intentionally affected the public opinion to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
On 2 July 2013, the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced 56 people, including lawyer Salem Hamdoun Al-Shehhi, to 10 years imprisonment with an additional 3 years of probation. He was brought before court as a member of the “UAE 94” group .
His trial lacked all fair trial standards that intermingle with human rights standards. They failed to open a serious and public investigation into the victim’s statements presented before the Federal Supreme Court judge in the hearing extending his pre-trial detention. In the hearing, the victim presented several facts related to the violations he was subjected to or the ones he witnessed.
Being a prisoner in Al-Razeen prison, he was subjected to various forms of violations. Violations included the continuity of solitary confinement in a tight room, constant light, the deprivation of visits, proper treatment and laboratory tests. Plus, he was not allowed to see the sunlight nor was he allowed to practice any activities. He used to go the bathroom blindfolded, causing him a significant weight loss, around 30 kilos. In the extension session in December 2012, he showed signs of intense fear and delirium, and hysterical crying.