The UAE announces the death toll from the floods

The UAE announces the death toll from the floods

Pressure is mounting on the UAE in Washington to release an American lawyer who previously represented Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

The New York Times reported that members of the US Congress and a group of Muslim organizations in America held two separate press conferences, Thursday, to highlight the case of the lawyer, Assem Ghafoor, who was arrested earlier this month.

Ghafour was arrested at Dubai Airport on July 16 while he was on his way to Istanbul to attend a wedding, and the police took him to a detention center in Abu Dhabi, claiming that he had been sentenced in absentia to 3 years in prison for tax evasion and money laundering, and a fine of $816,000.

Ghafoor’s supporters, including members of the US Congress, said his sudden arrest raises questions about whether the UAE is cooperating closely with Saudi Arabia to detain the lawyer for political reasons, such as his previous relationship with Khashoggi.

They said that Ghafoor was not aware of the charges against him before his arrest and that he was convicted without his knowledge or giving him a chance to defend himself, and described his detention as “arbitrary and unfair,” according to the American newspaper.

The United States had requested “additional information” from the UAE authorities, regarding Ghafour’s arrest.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was requesting “additional information” from the United Arab Emirates regarding Ghafoor’s arrest.

The US State Department denied that the United States had asked the UAE to arrest Ghafour, which contradicted the official Emirati interpretation of the detention of Khashoggi’s former lawyer, which it said came at the request of the US authorities.

A UAE government official said that Abu Dhabi had received a US request, in 2020, to assist in the investigation of Ghafour.

The official added, as reported by Reuters, that Ghafour was under investigation by the US authorities, when the United States contacted the UAE government in April 2020.

He stated that his investigation led to “sufficient evidence” of criminal violations of the UAE’s anti-money laundering and tax laws.

Assem Ghafoor and Jamal Khashoggi had founded a human rights organization called Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), which raised human rights abuses in the UAE and urged a halt to US arms sales to the country, according to the New York Times.

Amnesty International criticized Ghafoor’s arrest, saying that the sentence in absentia was three years in prison, “without respecting the most basic fair trial guarantees.”

US Representative Don Baer Jr. said in a press conference, Thursday, that Ghafoor’s treatment by the UAE authorities is “unacceptable.”

“My colleagues and I are very concerned that he (Ghafoor) will not be able to adequately defend himself from the so far unfounded charges that have been brought against him,” Junior added.

Junior appeared with three other members of Congress, Lloyd Doggett, Eric Swalwell, and Jennifer Wexton, the Virginia member of the Ghafoor District.

The four lawmakers demanded that the UAE release Ghafoor on bail and grant him access to a lawyer in time for Monday’s scheduled hearing.

They said Ghafoor has not been able to contact his lawyer, while US consulate officials have been unable to reach him in recent days.

The Council of Islamic Organizations in the United States stated that Ghafoor was recently infected with the emerging corona virus and was transferred to the emergency room for dehydration due to complications from Covid-19.

In a related context, a coalition of Islamic non-profit organizations and mosques said they are calling on the attorney general, Merrick B. Garland, to explain whether the UAE had previously informed the Ministry of Justice of the case against Ghafour.

The Ministry of Justice declined to comment to The New York Times on whether it had requested Emirati help in the investigation of Ghafour.

“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Asim,” Osama Jamal, secretary-general of the Council of Islamic Organizations in the United States, said during a separate news conference outside the Justice Department in Washington.

He described Ghafoor as “a civil rights lawyer who has defended the rights of others through his profession.”

For her part, Executive Director of the human rights group Down, Sarah Leah Whitson, said, “Ghafoor’s detention on the basis of a conviction that came in absentia without providing him with any information, notice or an opportunity to defend himself is a flagrant violation of his due process rights.”

#UAE #announces #death #toll #floods

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.