UAE arrests activist for "provoking strife"

DUBAI Tue Mar 6, 2012 8:09pm IST

Related Topics

DUBAI (Reuters) - Police arrested an activist after he criticised the United Arab Emirates' security services for interfering in the lives of citizens, the latest step to limit political dissent in the major oil exporter.

Saleh al-Dhufairi was taken from his home in the northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah early on Tuesday after posting comments via Twitter attacking the UAE's decision to deport Syrian expatriates who demonstrated outside their consulate in Dubai without a permit.

"Saleh al-Dhufairi has been arrested on accusation of spreading ideas by speech, writing and any other means that provoke strife, hurt national unity and social peace," a spokesman for Dubai police said in a statement.

The UAE has avoided the kind of pro-democracy protests that have convulsed other countries in the region. It has tolerated little dissent during the upheaval that resulted in the ouster of rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Dhufairi's brother-in-law, Mohammed al-Mansouri, said plain-clothes policemen arrived in unmarked cars at night and arrested him without a warrant. He initially refused to accompany them, but later agreed.

Police told the family an arrest order had been issued by the electronic crimes department in the emirate of Dubai. Dubai police said Dhufairi would be tried in a federal court.

"The people want the liberation of civil life from the chains of the security services," Dhufairi wrote on Twitter, singling out its interference in religious affairs.

Rights groups have criticised the UAE for the expulsion of some Syrians following a demonstration in Dubai last month against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

A UAE official had said authorities decided not to renew the residency permits of around 30 Syrians who had refused to disperse after an unlicensed demonstration ended peacefully.

Mansouri said his brother-in-law had begun to use Twitter after the UAE revoked the citizenship of six Emirati activists in December on charges they posed a threat to national security.

Five other political activists were also convicted and then pardoned last year on charges of insulting the UAE's leaders, inciting protests and disrupting public order.

(Writing by Isabel Coles; editing by Robert Woodward)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Shooting in Canada

REUTERS SHOWCASE

HK Protests

HK Protests

Hong Kong protesters plan march after fruitless talks with government.  Full Article 

Double Murder

Double Murder

Thailand tourist murder suspects retract confessions.  Full Article 

Rousseff in Lead

Rousseff in Lead

Brazil's Rousseff pulls ahead of Neves before Sunday's election - poll.  Full Article 

Indonesia Cabinet

Indonesia Cabinet

Indonesia president to make new cabinet picks after 8 rejected.  Full Article 

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

J&J aims for 1 million Ebola vaccine doses in 2015.  Full Article 

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad restaurant bombs kill 21  Full Article 

Canada On Alert

Canada On Alert

Canada raises terrorism threat level, cites Islamist chatter.  Full Article 

Foreign Threat?

Foreign Threat?

Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on.  Full Article 

Iran Nuclear Talks

Iran Nuclear Talks

Exclusive: Iran offers "compromises" in nuclear talks, West unmoved  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage