An Emirati-Turkish man sentenced in absentia 10 years ago by the United Arab Emirates government has been extradited from Jordan, state media has reported.
Khalaf al-Rumaithi, an Emirati Turkish citizen according to rights groups, was described as a “terrorist” by the UAE official WAM news agency, which said he was facing a retrial.
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In 2013, al-Rumaithi was sentenced to 15 years in jail by the UAE’s Federal Supreme Court for “establishing a secret organisation affiliated with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood”, WAM said.
“According to the UAE Criminal Procedural Law, Khalaf Al-Rumaithi will be retried again, in accordance with the legal provisions, which stipulate that if an accused person is arrested against whom a judgment was passed in absentia or he turns himself in, he will be retried on the same charges against him,” WAM added.
His case has drawn concern from rights groups, with Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights saying he is among 94 critics of the UAE government who faced an “unfair” mass trial that led to the conviction of 69 people.
Al-Rumaithi’s “co-defendants have been unjustly languishing in Emirati prisons for over a decade”, said Joey Shea, UAE researcher at HRW.
HRW said Jordan had detained al-Rumaithi, 58, at Amman’s international airport on May 7 when he arrived from Turkey, where he had been living in exile.
Jordanian authorities temporarily detained him before releasing him on bail, HRW said. They detained him again on May 8 before he was extradited to the UAE.
The UAE “will not hesitate to go after those wanted for justice and prosecute them in fair judicial process”, WAM said.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was formed in the last century to champion political Islam as an opposition group in Egypt and other countries in the region, is considered to be a terrorist group by the UAE and most Gulf Arab states.