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Crackdown on new group of activists, reformers by authorities

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 28 July 2012 - ANHRI condemns the escalation of the arrest campaign against human rights activists and reformers. As part of a media campaign to tarnish their image in the public eye, the authorities are accusing the activists of being foreign countries' agents and of threatening the security of the country.

In the early morning of Wednesday 25 July 2012, security forces arrested a number of reformers and rights activists, including Hamd Raqit, a preacher; Mohamed Abdan El-Naqby, a professor banned from teaching; Abdulsalam Darwich, a reformer and consultant for Dubai courts and the general manager of Bedaya Channel; Dr. Adnan Elgelfar, who was arrested in Dubai municipality after Tarweeh prayers; Abdulrahim El-Zarowney, a media-figure and manager of the Haytna channel; activists Mosbah El-Ramthy and Tarek Hasan El-Qatan, whose houses were searched; activist Saaid Naser El-Wahdy; and Ali El-Mani'y, agriculture expert in the ministry of environment, whose home was also searched.

Prior to the crack down, the attorney general stated that the authorities had arrested a group of persons without revealing the total number or their names, who were said to be accused of establishing and managing an organisation with the purpose of committing crimes against the security of the state. The arrests of the activists and reformers were conducted in the midst of a media blackout.

Activists used social networks to voice their criticism of the UAE National Council, describing the arrests as a smirch on the UAE and an attack on human rights. They expressed surprise at the National Council's silence and urged its honorable members to immediately resign. They added that the National Council should no longer exist following its silence on the arrest of more than 40 activists, and that its existence is an insult to the dignity of the UAE people and their fundamental rights.

ANHRI stated, "The UAE is resorting to false allegations of a threat to the country's security in order to crack down on activists and members of the opposition. This demonstrates that the authorities are failing to address the people's call for reforms." ANHRI notes that these tactics will only encourage further opposition to the authorities, foster greater unity among the people and strengthen calls for reform.

ANHRI calls on the UAE authorities to immediately release all political detainees, protect freedom of opinion and speech as well as freedom of assembly and to stop spreading false allegations against activists.
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