10 thoughts on “United Arab Emirates crackdown on dissent

  1. UAE activists suspected of incitement, insults

    Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:18pm GMT

    * Activists suspected of insulting the president

    * First statement of possible charges against activists

    DUBAI, April, 25 (Reuters) – Five political activists arrested in the United Arab Emirates this month are suspected of incitement to disobey the law and insulting the Gulf country’s leadership, the state news agency WAM said on Monday.

    Quoting the attorney general, WAM said the five activists in preventive detention were being investigated for inciting “acts that threaten state security and public order”, and “insulting the president, vice president and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi”.

    With generous government spending programmes and per capita income of $47,000, among the world’s highest, the UAE has not seen the kind of mass pro-democracy protests that have swept the rest of the Arab world and toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt. But the activists’ case shows its sensitivity to political criticism.

    Gulf-based websites reported that one of the detained men, blogger Ahmed Mansoor, described a visit by top UAE officials to less wealthy members of the seven-emirates federation as an “economic bribe”.

    Another, Nasser bin Ghaith, a lecturer at the Abu Dhabi branch of France’s Sorbonne University, published an article criticising what he called Gulf states’ attempt to avoid political reform by buying off their populaces. (Reporting by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

    © Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved

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