Former Khashoggi lawyer arrested in UAE

Former Khashoggi lawyer arrested in UAE
Update: 17 July 2022 22:12
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Lawyer Asim Ghafoor was detained a day before US president Biden met with Saudi Arabian crown prince, allegedly the instigator of Khashoggi's murder

It came to light upon a communication by a US-based rights group that a lawyer who previously served for slain Saudi Arabian dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested by United Arab Emirates authorities 14 July.

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), of whose board the detained lawyer is a member, said in a statement:

"We are outraged at the unjustified detention of our board member and extremely concerned for his health and physical security given the well-documented record of abuse in the UAE, including torture and inhuman treatment."

The group urged the US president Joe Biden "to secure the release of an arbitrarily detained American lawyer before agreeing to meet with the UAE's leader in Jeddah."

Biden met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who allegedly gave the orders to kill Jamal Khashoggi, a day later, and with UAE president Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan two days later.

Lawyer Asim Ghafoor, a US citizen and civil rights attorney, was arrested while transiting through Dubai International Airport on July 14 on charges related to an in absentia conviction for money laundering, Reuters reported Sunday.

Ghafoor was sentenced to three years in prison by an UAE court.

US Council of Muslim organizations (USCMO) condemned the arrest of Ghafoor, which it called a "kidnapping," and called on the Biden Administration to demand his release.

Murder of Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi, columnist for Middle East Eye and The Washington Post, was brutally murdered at the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi government, allegedly on orders by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

On 7 April 2022, a Turkish court ordered the transfer of the trial to Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that many of the suspects had already been acquitted in Saudi Arabia.

Nimet Demir, the head of the Turkish court, was the only judge who objected to the decision, and she was demoted by Turkish authorities a short time later, being appointed to an insignificant post in a southeastern city.