With participation from dozens of human rights organizations & prominent figures

Widespread interaction with the "imprisoned writer" campaign to demand the release of Al-Roken

20 Nov 2021
Widespread interaction with the

A campaign launched on Friday by the London-based organization PEN International calling on the UAE authorities to unconditionally release imprisoned Dr. Muhammad Al-Roken has been widely echoed by human rights and international organizations around the world.

In addition to the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre (EDAC), a number of organizations, including Amnesty International and the International Center for Justice and Human Rights, participated in the annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer campaign under the hashtags #MohammedAlRoken #FreeAlRoken #ImprisonedWriter.

In a tweet, Amnesty International called Al-Roken's detention arbitrary and a violation of freedom of expression, noting that it joined PEN International in calling on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoom to release Al-Roken and drop all charges against him.

The International Center for Justice and Human Rights condemned the detention of the "Emirati academic, lawyer and author" Mohammed Al-Roken.

The Fort Line Defenders organization announced that it had joined the campaign to call on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to release Al-Roken. In a tweet, it stated that Al-Roken's continued detention was an injustice and a violation of his right to freedom of expression.

The human rights group "MINA" quoted the Fort Line Defenders tweet, stating, "Today and every day we stand in solidarity with all those who have been arbitrarily detained for exercising their fundamental freedoms in the UAE, like human rights lawyer Mohammed Al Roken and all members of UAE94."

EDAC participated in the campaign by publishing a drawing of Al-Roken holding a pen with his hands tied. EDAC partners circulated this drawing.

U.S.-based Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) and other organizations such as the Emirates Centre for Human Rights (ECHR), the International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE), and the World Organization Against Torture joined in similar tweets calling for Al-Roken's immediate release.

In addition, the campaign received great response from a number of prominent human rights figures such as Mina Thabet and Sabrina Tucci. Renowned Syrian writer Yassin Al-Haj Saleh wrote a letter of solidarity to Al-Roken, which was published on the campaign's website. In it, he called on the UAE authorities to stop torturing Al-Roken with loud music, solitary confinement, or arbitrary and humiliating inspections, and he also wished for him to be provided with proper medical care and to see him free again.

Since 1981, PEN International has proclaimed Imprisoned Writer's Day every year on November 15 to raise awareness about the fate of imprisoned or persecuted writers. This campaign, which spans four days, also commemorates those who have died while exercising their right to freedom of expression.

The Writers-in-Prison Committee of PEN International in London has painted a grim picture of the state of freedom of expression. In addition to new cases, this year's statistics also list the fates of acutely threatened writers who have been subjected to judicial arbitrariness for decades.