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The New Arab

Outrage as young Emirati arrested over 'sympathy' with Qatar

Ghanem Abdullah Mattar was arrested this week after posting a video [YouTube]

Date of publication: 9 July, 2017

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The arrest of young Emirati activist Ghanem Abdullah Mattar by UAE authorities for allegedly expressing sympathy with Qatar over the recent Saudi-led blockade prompted outrage from Arab social media users.
The arrest of a young Emirati activist by UAE authorities for allegedly expressing sympathy with Qatar following a Saudi-led blockade on the Gulf state has prompted outrage on social media.

Ghanem Abdullah Mattar was arrested this week after posting a video where he disparaged efforts to isolate Qatar saying "Qatar has proven to us that it cannot be led… It leads its people, but it cannot be led", activists said.

Reports suggest the young Emirati was arrested at his family home on Wednesday night following a raid by UAE security forces.

The arrest comes after a decree was issued by the UAE last month which criminalised any expression of sympathy towards Qatar. Those convicted could face a fine of 13,500 US dollars and a prison sentence of 15 years.

In the video that led to his arrest Mattar called on those compatriots censuring Qatar to cease as they are "our family".

He also tells the camera he expected things to return to normal just as they did two years earlier during an earlier diplomatic crisis between Qatar and several Gulf states.


Amnesty International announced said on Twitter it is following up on Mattar's case.

"We thank all those who have alerted us to the issue of Ghanem Abdullah . The issue is now followed by our team," Amnesty tweeted in Arabic.

Meanwhile, the hashtag #FreedomForEmiratiGhanemAbdullahMattar quickly gained traction on Twitter.

A video claiming to be moment of Mattar's arrest was also shared online though The New Arab cannot verify the footage.

[Translation: The moment Ghanem Abdullah Mattar was arrested over sympathising with Qatar]

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