Creating new perspectives since 2009

Jordan extradites ‘wanted terrorist’ to UAE

May 17, 2023 at 12:09 pm

Khalaf Abdul Rahman Al-Romaithi [HRW]

Jordanian authorities have handed over a wanted man to the UAE, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported today.

Dual Emirati-Turkish citizen, Khalaf Abdul Rahman Al-Romaithi was detained at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport on 7 May, having arrived from Turkiye where he had been living in exile following a 2013 court ruling sentencing him in absentia to 15 years in prison.

According to WAM, he faces charges in the UAE for “establishing a secret organization affiliated with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood that aims to oppose the foundational principles of the UAE government.”

“The UAE reiterates maintaining its sovereignty and stability, and safety and security of its citizens and residents, and that it will not hesitate to go after those wanted for justice and prosecute them in fair judicial process,” the official news agency stated.

READ: Legal expert suggests three charges against Jordan lawmaker held in gun-running case 

As per UAE criminal law, Al-Romaithi, 58, will be retried on the same charges. The 2013 ruling by the Federal Supreme Court followed the controversial “UAE94” mass trial involving almost 100 critics and activists, resulting in 69 convictions. Two years before the ruling, over 300 people were under investigation by the authorities, over suspected links to the banned Muslim Brotherhood and affiliate organisation, Al-Islah.

Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) described the development as “very concerning” and said that Al-Romaithi was at “serious risk of arbitrary detention, unfair trial, and possible torture.”

Jordan’s actions may prove unconstitutional, as Article 21 of the Hashemite Kingdom’s constitution prohibits extradition of “political refugees” based on “their political beliefs or for their defence of liberty.”

“Emirati authorities have been violating the rights of al-Romaithi’s ‘UAE94’ co-defendants for over a decade, and Jordan risks complicity in these abuses if it sends him back to near-certain persecution,” said Joey Shea, UAE researcher at HRW.

READ: UAE continuing its ‘sustained assault on human rights’ ahead of COP28, 42 rights groups warn