UAE Deports Stateless Activist
Ahmed Abdul Khaleq, an activist from the United Arab Emirates, says he has been deported to Thailand after being held in two months’ detention for campaigning on behalf of the UAE’s “bidoon.” Bidoon, an Arabic word meaning “without,” refers to the hundreds of thousands of traditionally nomadic Gulf residents that are not granted citizenship by Gulf governments. “They didn’t charge me with anything, but some police officers said … [it was] because I am one of the activists who talked about the rights of the stateless people in the UAE,” Khaleq said. Several prominent human rights groups, including the Gulf Center for Human Rights, condemned the Emirati government urging it to “immediately and unconditionally release” the activist. Khaleq purportedly left the country on a Comoros Island passport, which UAE authorities forced him to apply for.
Meanwhile, in Oman, five additional activists have been sentenced to prison terms. The jail terms ranged from one year to 18 months and all of the five were tried for defaming the country’s ruler in their posts on blogs or Facebook as well as for violating the law on cyber-crimes.