Friday, May 11, 2012
With Two New Arrests, 11 members of Islamist al-Islah Detained
May 10, 2012
"(Beirut) – United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have expanded their crackdown on peaceful political activists with the recent arrests of two more members of a non-violent political association advocating greater adherence to Islamic precepts, Human Rights Watch said today. The new arrests, of Saleh al-Dhufairi and Salem Sahooh, bring to 11 the total number of detained members of the group, the Reform and Social Guidance Association (al-Islah), since late March 2012. Authorities should end this crackdown immediately, and release all activists detained simply for exercising their right to freedoms of expression and association, Human Rights Watch said.
Al-Islah sources and family members told Human Rights Watch that the recent arrests appear to have been motivated solely by the men’s affiliation with the association. Members of the group have been increasingly critical of government policies and the actions of security services over the past year, and several signed a petition submitted in March 2011 to UAE authorities demanding democratic reforms.
“These new arrests are yet another worrying sign of an increased crackdown in the UAE on voices critical of state policies,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Emiratis should be able to talk about reform without fear of being arbitrarily arrested by the security services.”....."