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United Arab Emirates: Human rights defender Mr Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq arrested and detained incommunicado
On 22 May 2012, human rights defender Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq was arrested by the immigration authorities in the Emirate of Ajman. He was subsequently taken to an unknown location where he remains detained incommunicado.
There are fears that Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq, who is a stateless person, may be deported.
Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq is a prominent human rights defender known for his advocacy for minority rights, and the rights of freedom of expression and association in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The arrest and incommunicado detention followed a summons received by the defender's father on 22 May 2012 to report to the Ajman's Department of Immigration in relation to the family's statelessness. On arrival, his father was ordered to ask his son to report to the Department. When Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq arrived at the Department that same day, he was led away to an undisclosed location. When his father asked of the reasons for taking his son away, he was told that it was due to procedural matters, after which he would be released. His father was then asked to leave the Department of Immigration, and Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq's car was returned to the family. There are fears that he may be currently detained at the State Security detention centre or Al Sadr Prison pending deportation.
A major crackdown by the UAE authorities is currently underway against stateless persons calling for political reform in the UAE. Approximately two days prior to the arrest, Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq and his family were provided with Comoros passports. Following Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq's arrest and detention, there are fears that the defender and his family may now be deported to Comoros. The issuing of Comoran passports to stateless persons in the UAE is reportedly linked to a bilateral agreement between the two countries.
Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq was one of five human rights defenders arbitrarily detained from April to November 2011, and subsequently sentenced to two years in prison for reportedly insulting UAE rulers. He was released along the other four human rights defenders following an amnesty issued by the President of the UAE shortly after their conviction.
In light of his arrest and incommunicado detention, Front Line Defenders express concern for the physical and psychological integrity and security of human rights defender Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq; and is concerned at the possible deportation of the defender and his family.
Front Line Defenders believes that the continued persecution of Ahmad Abd Al-Khaliq is related to his peaceful and legitimate human rights work, particularly his defence of the rights of stateless persons in the UAE.