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United Arab Emirates

Andra Petrusca

April 20, 2012

On April 9, six UAE citizens were detained in Abu Dhabi after refusing the authorities’ request to take on another nationality and amend their citizenship status.

The six activists—Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Sediq, Ali Hussain Al-Hammadi, Shahin Abdullah Al-Haosni, Hussein Munif Al-Jabri, Hassan Munif Al-Jabri and Ibrahim Hassan Al-Marzouqi—had their citizenship revoked back in December 2011, after signing a petition for reform directed to the ruler of UAE back in early 2011.

Advocating reform, the activists’ actions were considered an offence by the authorities, who subsequently stripped them of their UAE nationality based on political grounds.

Lawyer Mohammed Al-Roken stated that they are being held after they were summoned to the Interior Ministry in Abu Dhabi. They were told that as a result of their citizenship status being revoked, they are in the country illegally and must sign a statement requiring them to find new citizenship within two weeks. Refusing to sign this statement, all six were then taken to an Abu Dhabi detention facility for allegedly having criticized the country’s ruler, and campaigning for political reform.

Increasingly, arrests and threats plague human rights activists and bloggers. Nabeel Rajab, director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights said that these recent arbitrary arrests of these six activists are part of the UAE government’s policy for targeting human rights defenders.

These reprehensive measures need to be called on immediately, as intimidating or coercing people into expulsion from their homeland on the basis of political grounds is an infringement on their human rights to freedom of expression and right to advocate for reform.

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