Middle East

Prominent UAE activist suspiciously died in so-called crash accident

Alaa al-Siddiq, a prominent dissident Emirati rights activist and critic, suspiciously died in a car crash in London.

Alaa was the executive director of the United Kingdom-based ALQST, a non-profit organization that advocates for greater freedoms and human rights in the UAE and the wider Persian Gulf region, Al-Jazeera reported.

“With deep sadness, ALQST mourns the sudden death of its loved and respected Executive Director Alaa Al-Siddiq on Saturday 19 June 2021,” the group said in a tweet. “May she rest in power.”

Her father, Mohammad al-Siddiq, is also a prominent activist who has been held in detention by Emirati authorities since 2013.

“Today, the able Emirati researcher and honest sister, professor Alaa al-Siddiq, left this world, while her father, Mohammad al-Siddiq languishes in the notorious prisons of the [United Arab] Emirates,” wrote Saudi activist Abdullah al-Awda.

According to Doha News, Alaa and her husband sought asylum in Qatar in 2012, where they had been living with their relatives.

The activist’s presence in Qatar, and Doha’s stance towards political activists at a time when the UAE was cracking down on voices of dissent, led to a rift between the two neighbors.

In 2018, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said a dispute had taken place between Qatar and the UAE in 2015 concerning a political dissident’s wife.

Abu Dhabi had sent an envoy to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to ask that the woman in question be handed over to Emirati authorities, a request that was turned down by the Qatari ruler.

Though kept secret, Abdullah al-Athbah, the editor in chief of Qatar’s al-Arab newspaper, later said it was Alaa who the Emiratis sought to repatriate.

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