Blogger: UAE holds activist for criticising rulers
Posted on: 09:41 AM IST Mar 26, 2012
Dubai: United Arab Emirates authorities on Sunday briefly detained a political activist who criticised one of the Gulf country's rulers on his Twitter account, a prominent Emirati blogger said.
Ahmed Mansour told The Associated Press on the phone that security agents detained the activist, Mohammed Abdel-Razzaq al-Siddiq, before dawn Sunday. He was taken from his home in the emirate of Sharjah and released on bail later Sunday, Mansour said.
The arrest was the latest move by the UAE to crack down on political dissent in the oil-rich union of seven city-states. Each emirate is ruled by a hereditary sheik. The US-allied UAE has not been hit by Arab Spring unrest that has spread across the Middle East during the past year, including in neighboring Bahrain. UAE authorities have moved aggressively against any signs of dissent that could pose a challenge to the tight political controls in country.
Political activity is severely restricted in the Gulf federation. There are no official opposition groups in the country, and political parties are banned.
UAE officials could not be reached for comment about al-Siddiq's arrest and release Sunday.
In the past few weeks, three other people have been detained for postings on social media websites. All are free on bail, including an online activist who faces charges in the state security court after commenting on uprisings against autocratic Arab rulers in his Twitter posts.
Al-Siddiq is an Islamic scholar who was stripped of his citizenship along with six others last year after authorities accused them of links to an Islamic group.