HRW raps United Arab Emirates over free speech

By REUTERS
January 25, 2012 23:46

 
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DUBAI - Human Rights Watch accused the United Arab Emirates of cracking down on freedom of expression, during a news conference on Wednesday which was disrupted by men who claimed to be UAE officials and demanded the rights group end its presentation.

The UAE, which includes the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has avoided the kind of pro-democracy demonstrations that have rocked Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, partly thanks to its cradle-to-grave welfare system.

But it has tolerated little dissent during the regional upheaval, trying and sentencing at least five pro-reform activists and stripping the citizenship of another seven last year on charges that they represent a threat to state security.

It also disbanded the elected boards of two of the UAE's most prominent civil society groups, Human Rights Watch said.

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