U.A.E. Arrests 10 Islamist Dissidents
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have arrested another ten Islamist dissidents, bringing the total to twenty in recent weeks. Most are affiliated with the Islamist group al-Islah, including Hamad Roqait, one of the organization’s founders who was taken away during the night on Tuesday and whose whereabouts remain unknown according to his family. The International Commission of Jurists as well as a U.N. human rights spokesman condemned the recent arrests, calling them an excuse to silence legitimate critics. Emirati officials allege however that they are investigating foreign-linked groups who seek to undermine the government and state security.
Additionally, U.A.E. authorities are offering a reward of Dh500 for anyone who can tip off officials to the whereabouts of illegal residents. Major General Nasser Bin Al Awadi Al Menhali with the U.A.E. Interior Ministry recently called on the public to use a toll free number set up to report any suspected illegal residents, while underscoring the consequences of illegally harboring any such residents.
Also, the head of the Syrian National Council Abdelbasset Sida announced in Dubai that the group seeks to form a government in the coming weeks so as to be ready if the current government falls. “This government should come about before the fall (of Assad) so that it presents itself as an alternative for the next stage,” Sida said. Two committees have been formed, one to discuss details with the Free Syrian Army, and the other to discuss with all other opposition groups in an attempt to counter critics who see the council as illegitimate.