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American human rights activist Assem Ghafoor will not have to spend years in prison in the United Arab Emirates on charges of tax evasion and money laundering. His lawyer told Reuters news agency that the court had overturned the ruling.
Ghafoor must pay a fine of 475,000 euros. Almost 4.8 million euros were also seized from his account. This corresponds to the amount he has washed according to the authorities. It is not clear if Ghafoor has since been released.
Arrested in Dubai
Ghafoor was a lawyer for Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who was assassinated by Saudis in 2018 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. He was convicted in absentia in May. become american Arrested In Dubai when he was on his way to Turkey.
According to the UAE, an investigation into Ghafoor’s case was opened at the request of the US authorities. The United States has not confirmed this and says Ghafoor was not detained at Washington’s request.
Ghafoor Khashoggi helped found the organization Democratic Human Rights in the Arab World Now (DAWN), of which Ghafoor is also a board member. That organization described the activist’s conviction as politically motivated. According to DAWN, it often happens that foreigners who criticize the UAE are arrested for alleged misconduct.
A number of American politicians have also indicated a political motive, due to Ghafoor’s ties to Khashoggi. The US State Department said it had no indications. The authorities in the United Arab Emirates also say that it is a purely financial crime.
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