Saturday, April 7, 2012

United Arab Emirates Closed nongovernmental organizations promoting democracy

Abu Dhabi (CNN) -- New details have emerged in the United Arab Emirates' shuttering last week of two nongovernmental organizations that worked primarily on promoting democracy.

The Dubai office of U.S.-based National Democratic Institute was shut down March 28, followed by the closure of the Abu Dhabi office of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, an organization based in Germany, the next day.

An NDI staff member was detained at the Dubai airport this week, questioned for several hours and let go, said an NDI official.

The employee, a Serbian national, is still in Dubai and cannot travel, the official said. Another employee, an American, left the country.

Also this week, the UAE's state WAM news agency said that the two organizations were ordered to halt operations because of license disputes.

"Some foreign institutions that were operating in the UAE have violated the terms of the license; some have been operating without a license," said Abdul Rahim al Awadhi, assistant UAE foreign minister for legal affairs, according to WAM. Read More