Gulf intellectuals say UAE arrested more activists

DUBAI- The United Arab Emirates has arrested two more activists, a group of Arab Gulf intellectuals said on Monday, bringing to three the number of political activists detained there over the weekend.
Nasser bin Gaith, an Emirati economist, was arrested on Sunday and "no information or details were given on the circumstances and reasons behind his arrest," said a statement by the Gulf Discussion Forum, which groups intellectuals from the Gulf Arab monarchies.

Another activist, Mansur al-Shehhi, has also been arrested, the statement said without giving further details.
Human Rights Watch on Sunday criticised the detention of a blogger and rights activist, urging the UAE to disclose his whereabouts.
Emirati authorities "should immediately disclose the whereabouts of leading rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, the reason for his detention, and any charges against him", HRW said.
"Mansoor has been a leading and vocal proponent of a petition submitted last month to UAE authorities demanding democratic reforms," said HRW.
Emirati intellectuals and activists, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, petitioned the UAE president on March 9 to introduce direct elections and invest parliament with legislative powers.
A week later, local newspapers said Emiratis are to elect new members of the purely advisory Federal National Council on September 24.
The Gulf Discussion Forum said these arrests are part of what the group branded "a 'protests phobia' regimes in the region are suffering from."
"The repression by Bahraini authorities of movements calling for freedom and democracy is an example," said the group, adding that Oman, which has also cracked down on pro-reform protests, is another example.

Monday, April 11th 2011

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