Jamal Kashoggi Civil Rights Lawyer Arrested in UAE

A United Arab Emirates(UAE) court has sentenced Jamal Kashoggi’s former lawyer Asim Ghafoor to three years in prison for money laundering and tax evasion.

UAE state media confirmed that Ghafoor was found guilty of “two crimes of tax evasion and money laundering related to a tax evasion operation in his country and sentenced him to three years in prison and a fine of three million dirhams [$US 816,748], with deportation from the UAE.”

According to Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), an organization, Ghafoor, their board member, was detained at the Dubai International Airport last Friday.

According to DAWN, there was no evidence against Ghafoor to support a conviction obtained without due process.

“We are outraged at the unjustified detention of our board member and extremely concerned for his health and physical security given the well-documented record of abuse in the UAE, including torture and inhuman treatment. We urge the Biden administration to secure the release of an arbitrarily detained American lawyer before agreeing to meet with the UAE’s leader MBZ in Jeddah tomorrow,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN.

Despite DAWN’s plea, Biden still met with the President of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) in Jeddah the next day.

During the meeting, Biden and MBZ have not mentioned anything regarding Ghafoor.

The US State Department, however, acknowledged Ghafoor’s sentencing and has already contacted UAE authorities.

“We have conveyed our expectation that Mr. Ghafoor’s rights to a fair and public hearing and to fair trial guarantees be fully respected and that he be treated humanely, as well as that U.S. rights to consular access be fully respected,” said the state department.

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