U.A.E. Continues Arrests of Rights Activists and Islamist Groups
The U.A.E. arrested prominent human rights lawyer Mohamed Al-Roken, a member of Amnesty International and a former head of the Emirati lawyer’s association, and detained fellow lawyer Mohamed Al-Mansoori this week bringing condemnation from human rights organizations. Amnesty international released a statement appealing for the immediate release of the two lawyers, and also urged the U.A.E. to “end detentions that have targeted activists and members of an Islamist group calling for a greater public voice in the country’s affairs,” the Associated Press reports. Attorney General Salem Saeed Kubaish claimed the arrests were made as part of an investigation of a cell of people that threaten state security, accusing the group of having links to “foreign organizations and outside agendas” and “opposing the U.A.E. constitution and ruling system. However, Ann Harrison of Amnesty said “We believe [they are being] held solely on account of their defense work as lawyers and other peaceful human rights activities.”
The government has also intensified its crackdown on Islamist groups with the arrest of 13 members of the protest group al-Islah, a non-violent political association advocating greater adherence to Islamic precepts. Authorities have arrested 25 of its members since March.
Sultan Al Qassemi wrote that those who are calling for reform in the U.A.E. increasingly find themselves a shrinking minority. He argued, “I would be glad sit down and write you an article about how UAE nationals are up in arms, protesting in the streets . . . But that is not the case, not by a long shot — and not, it seems, even in the distant future.” According to Al Qassemi an an important factor is that “the vast majority of U.A.E. residents, citizens and expats alike are satisfied with their government and living conditions.”