Jeddah, Saudi Arabia/Cairo, Jul 16 (EFE).- Asim Ghafoor, the former lawyer of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated in 2018, has been detained by authorities in the United Arab Emirates, an NGO said Saturday.
Ghafoor, a US citizen, was arrested Dubai international airport on Thursday while making a stopover on his way to Istanbul “on what appears to be a politically motivated in absentia conviction,” Democracy for the Arab World Now said in a statement.
DAWN called on US president Joe Biden to cancel a meeting with his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed over Ghafoor’s detention.
A US official confirmed on Saturday in the Saudi city of Jeddah that his government is aware of the arrest and that Biden, on a Middle East tour, is set to meet Bin Zayed.
Although the source declined to specify whether Biden would mention the issue during the meeting, he said that the US government will address it with the UAE authorities.
DAWN learned from the US State Department’s consular services that Ghafoor is being held in Abu Dhabi on charges related to a conviction in absentia in a “money laundering” case that had never been notified of, it said in the statement.
His arrest “smacks of politically motivated revenge for his association with Khashoggi and DAWN, which has highlighted UAE human rights abuses and urged an end to arms sales to the country,” DAWN executive director Sarah Whitson said.
Khashoggi, a journalist who was critical of the Saudi regime, was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
US intelligence services have held the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman responsible for his killing. EFE