UAE plain-clothes officers arrived in unmarked cars in the middle of the night and took Emirati citizen Saleh al-Dhufairi away earlier this week, without even a warrant.
His crime, according to Dubai police:
“Saleh al-Dhufairi has been arrested on accusation of spreading ideas by speech, writing and any other means that provoke strife, hurt national unity and social peace.”
What he actually did, though, was question the UAE’s decision to deport Syrian nationals who had staged a peaceful protest against the Al-Assad government.
That’s the same crime Qatar-based Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi is said to have committed. Dhahi Khalfan al-Tamim, Dubai’s police chief, threatened to arrest Qaradawi for condemning the UAE’s decision.
Neighboring UAE, often regarded as the most liberal Gulf Arab state, appears to be taking a hard line against dissent. Qatar, so far, has supported its residents wishing to protest governments in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Let’s hope that doesn’t change.