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UAE Arrests Fourth Activist in One Month

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TEHRAN, April 18 (ICANA) –The emirates is called on to subject the parliament to comprehensive reforms, thus enabling free elections by all citizens in the method of universal suffrage.
Monday, April 18, 2011 8:07:11 PM
UAE Arrests Fourth Activist in One Month

The United Arab Emirates has arrested a fourth human rights activist a month after he signed a petition calling on Abu Dhabi to observe democratic standards.

Abdullah al-Shehhi, who was arrested on Friday, was one of the 133 people, who endorsed the call on Abu Dhabi to hold direct elections and establish a parliament with legislative powers, AFP reported on Saturday.

The government has refused to unveil the whereabouts of the former officer to his family.

The signatories to the petition include academics, journalists, and other human rights campaigners.

The statement, issued on March 8, calls for “free elections by all citizens in the method of universal suffrage.” This should be made possible through “comprehensive reform of the Federal National Council (FNC), or parliament.”

The first general elections were attended by less than one percent of the Emiratis, who were only allowed to appoint half of the FNC.

The parliament also lacks legislative or regulatory powers and is only trusted to offer its opinion in Abu Dhabi's affairs.

“The group demands reform of legislation governing the work of parliament to include legislative and monitoring authorities and calls for necessary constitutional amendments to ensure this,” the petition says.

The call coincides with popular anti-government protests in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.

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