UAE detains 6 activists critical of rulers

Apr 9, 2012, 8:19 PM

Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Six activists in the United Arab Emirates previously stripped of their citizenship for criticizing the country’s rulers were detained on Monday and told they were illegally residing in the oil-rich union, one of their attorneys said.

The arrests were the latest move by the UAE to crack down on political dissent in the federation of seven city-states, each ruled by a hereditary sheik.

Authorities revoked the nationality of the six last year. The UAE has deported non-citizens suspected of political activities but it is an unusual tactic to be used against nationals.

Lawyer Mohammed al-Roken said the six are being held after they were summoned to the Interior Ministry in the capital, Abu Dhabi. He said they were told they are now in the country illegally and were asked to sign a statement obligating them to find a new nationality within two weeks.

After refusing to sign the statement, they were taken to an Abu Dhabi detention facility where illegal immigrants are held.

One of the activists, Mohammed Abdel-Razzaq al-Siddiq, said that he and the other men were part of an Islamist organization known as the Reform and Social Guidance Association. He said they were targeted because they have been campaigning for political reform.

The U.S.-allied UAE has not been hit by the mass unrest that spread across the Middle East including neighboring Bahrain during the last year’s Arab Spring. UAE authorities have moved aggressively against any signs of dissent that could pose a challenge to the tight political controls in country.

Political activity is severely restricted in the Gulf federation. There are no official opposition groups in the country, and political parties are banned.

Last year, five political activists, including a prominent blogger and an economics professor who has frequently lectured at Abu Dhabi’s branch of the Sorbonne university, were jailed after they had been convicted on anti-state charges that included insulting the UAE’s leadership, endangering national security and inciting people to protest.

They were freed on order of the federation’s president a day after their sentences of two to three years in jail were handed down. Despite the order, charges against them were never officially dropped.

All the convicted activists had signed an online petition calling on UAE rulers to allow free elections and changes to the constitution that would give more powers to the parliament, which now serves as an advisory body.

Last week, the UAE temporarily detained members of a U.S.-funded democracy group as they tried to leave the country after their office in the Gulf country was ordered closed.

The National Democratic Institute, or NDI, was closed two weeks ago over licensing issues, the authorities said. Branches of a German pro-democracy group, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, were also closed along with the NDI and the Washington-based polling organization Gallup.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
3 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
UAE detains 6 activists critical of rulers