The United Arab Emirates (UAE) security agents have detained US citizen and civil rights attorney Asim Ghafoor, who previously served as a lawyer for slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Ghafoor was detained at Dubai airport when he was in transit to Istanbul on Thursday, July 14, 2022, to attend a wedding.
Plain-clothes security agents detained him and sent him to an Abu Dhabi detention facility.
Ghafoor, who had also acted as a lawyer to Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, sent a text message early on Thursday saying that two plainclothes UAE security agents had approached him at the airport while he waited for his flight.
The security agents told Ghafoor they needed to take him to Abu Dhabi “to clear a case against him”.
However, Ghafoor stated he had no knowledge of any legal matter against him.
On Sunday, July 17, 2022, UAE state-run media said that Ghafoor was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of money laundering and tax evasion, in addition to a fine of more than $800,000 (£675,000) stemming from his in-absentia conviction.
Rights sources considered the arrest as a politically motivated revenge for his association with Khashoggi.