News ID: 115040
Publish Date : 14 May 2023 - 22:29

Jordan: Emirati-Turkish Citizen Faces ‘Unconstitutional’ Deportation

AMMAN (Middle East Eye) – Jordanian authorities have detained a dual Emirati-Turkish citizen who could now face extradition to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he has been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) named the detainee as Khalaf Abdul Rahman al-Romaithi, 58, and condemned the development as “very concerning”. HRW said he could face “arbitrary detention” in the UAE.
Romaithi was detained at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport on 7 May 2023, upon his arrival from Turkey. He was later released on bail but was detained again on 8 May. Romaithi’s lawyers lost track of their client’s whereabouts on 9 May, HRW said.
In July 2013, at the height of the Arab Spring, the UAE’s Federal Supreme Court sentenced Romaithi following what HRW called “grossly unfair” mass trials of 94 government critics resulting in 69 convictions.
Since his conviction, Romaithi has been sheltering in exile in Turkey.
HRW said that Romaithi was sentenced to prison for exercising his rights of “free expression, association, and assembly”.
Jordan’s constitution prohibits extradition of “political refugees” based on “their political beliefs or for their defence of liberty”.
The deputy director of HRW in the Middle East and North Africa, Michael Page, said that there are “unconfirmed reports that Jordan has already deported him to the UAE”.
Emirati authorities “have been violating the rights of Romaithi” and his co-defendants for over a decade, said Joey Shea, UAE researcher at HRW.
“Jordan risks complicity in these abuses if it sends him back to near-certain persecution,” said Shea, adding that Jordanian authorities should reveal the Romaithi’s whereabouts.
On 7 May, Romaithi attempted to enter Jordan on his Turkish passport. Jordanian authorities, however, stopped him, subjecting him to biometric checks at the airport which revealed that Jordanian police had issued a warrant for his arrest based on a request from the UAE.
Romaithi’s lawyers told HRW that after being released on bail he was picked up by a plain-clothes police officer in Amman the next day and all of his belongings were taken from his hotel.
Romaithi sent a text message to his lawyer, writing “they took me”, before losing all contact.