US disputes UAE’s clarification of Khashoggi lawyer arrest

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The USA on Monday talked about it had not sought the arrest of the earlier lawyer of various Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, contradicting the United Arab Emirates’ official clarification for the American citizen’s detention.

The UAE on Saturday sentenced the civil rights lawyer, US citizen Asim Ghafoor, to three years in jail adopted by deportation on bills of money laundering and tax evasion. Ghafoor has rejected the accusations and talked about he had no idea he had been convicted on the prices in some unspecified time sooner or later to date, in absentia.

Policemen arrested him from Dubai airport on Thursday as he was transiting to Istanbul for a wedding and took him to an Abu Dhabi detention center. An Emirati courtroom rejected Ghafoor’s request to be launched on bail Monday as he seeks to enchantment his conviction, talked about his lawyer, Faisal Gill.

The UAE portrayed Ghafoor’s arrest as a coordinated switch with the US to “battle transnational crimes,” saying American authorities had requested Emirati help with an investigation into Ghafoor’s alleged tax evasion and suspicious money transfers throughout the autocratic nation.

Nonetheless the US disputed that account, with the State Division saying it has “not sought the arrest of Mr. Ghafoor.”

“The Emiratis have spoken to their rationale for the detention,” State Division spokesman Ned Price knowledgeable reporters in Washington. “We now have requested additional knowledge from our Emirati companions and we’re watching this case rigorously.”

Ghafoor sits on the board of Washington-based human rights watchdog Democracy for the Arab World Now, or DAWN, and was an in depth buddy of Khashoggi, the dissident writer and Washington Put up columnist dismembered by Saudi brokers in Istanbul in 2018. He beforehand represented Khashoggi along with his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.

DAWN focuses on human rights violations in Gulf Arab autocracies along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the place dissent is outlawed.

Price talked about the State Division has “seen no indication at this stage that his detention has one thing to do collectively along with his affiliation with Jamal Khashoggi,” nevertheless cautioned the US was “nonetheless gathering knowledge.”

He referred reporters to Emirati authorities to speak to the thought of the still-murky bills in the direction of Ghafoor. Many foreigners have landed in jail throughout the UAE after falling foul of the federation’s strict approved system based mostly totally on Islamic laws. Even the smallest cash owed may end up in years in jail.

The Justice Division declined to comment.

Price added that the US has raised Ghafoor’s detention “with senior ranges of the Emirati authorities” and provided consular assist, with American officers visiting Ghafoor most recently on Sunday and attending his digital listening to on Monday.

“We now have conveyed our expectations to our Emirati companions that Mr. Ghafoor obtained continued consular entry, that he’d be afforded and clear approved course of, and that he’d be dealt with humanely,” Price talked about.


Associated Press writer Matt Lee in Washington contributed.

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