Mr. AbdulSalam Muhammad Darwish, born in 1970, is a reformer and family consultant in Dubai Courts, United Arab Emirates. He holds a BA in Teaching Methods of Islamic Education from the United Arab Emirates University in 1994.
Mr. Abdul Salam was responsible for the supervision of Bedaya TV channel, and contributed to the establishment of the Center of Excellence for Self-Development. Also, he holds a number of governmental and social positions: the head of the Family Reform Center in Dubai Courts, Jumah preacher in Sharjah mosques, and a Ma'adoun Al Chari—marriage officiant—in the Sharjah Sharia Court. He had a pivotal role as a member in developing the Islamic education curricula at the Ministry of Education. In the media and cultural field, he had valuable contributions as a writer of newspaper articles in local and Gulf newspapers and magazines.
His apprehension and trial
On July 24, 2012, armed forces in plainclothes arrested him without any charge or an arrest warrant while he was leaving Tarawih prayers and heading home. Then, they took him handcuffed to his house, searched the house without a warrant, confiscated the electronic devices, and deprived him from taking his kidney stones medicine.
During his detention period, Al-Marzouki was subjected to enforced disappearance in solitary confinement for eight months. His family was not allowed to know anything about him until 21 days after his arrest through a short phone call; they were not allowed to visit him until four months after he was arrested. However, the place he was kept at remained unknown until he was transferred to Al-Razeen Prison on March 9, 2013.
On July 2, 2013, the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment with 3 additional years of probation. He appeared in court as a group member of what is known “UAE 94”.
Al-Marzouki was subjected to various forms of physical and psychological torture. He was repeatedly threatened that he would be deprived of his medicine although he suffers kidney stones. In the few times he was visited, it was noticed that he experienced a significant weight loss and a bad psychological state.
During the trials, he was not allowed to see his lawyer in the first hearing. Tortured, he was forced to sign the case papers without informing him or his legal representative of their contents.
All lawsuits against the unlawful and inhuman treatments against Al Marzouki were ignored and rejected. The appeal regarding the decision to extend pretrial detention was rejected without bringing the accused, in addition to other objections that were not considered during or after the trial.
During the detention period, the prison administration kept depriving the detainee of his most basic rights, as he was prevented from seeing the sunlight, or getting books, papers, and pens. Although his health deteriorated, he was deprived of medical treatment.
Not only was he subjected to violations but also his family was subjected to various violations and abuses. In November, Al-Marzouki and his family lost their nationality and were deprived of the pension, which is their only income. His children with special needs were not allowed to get medical treatment, and his family was subjected to intimidation. His family was forced to sign papers to abandon him and not to publish anything related to him or the violations he is exposed to. His wife’s name and his family data were deleted from the country’s system.
AbdulSalam’s trial lacked all the fair trial standards; it lacked the legal and humanitarian foundations that the state was supposed to provide for him and other prisoners of conscience.