ABU DHABI // Five Emiratis have been arrested for crimes including insulting members of the country's ruling families and posing a threat to state security, the Attorney General said.
Salim Saeed Kubaish said the five were being investigated for "crimes of instigation, breaking laws and perpetrating acts that pose threat to state security, undermining the public order, opposing the government system, and insulting the President, the Vice President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi".
Four were named as Ahmed Mansour Ali Abdullah al Abd al Shehi, Nasser Ahmed Khalfan bin Gaith, Fahad Salim Mohammed Salim Dalk, Hassan Ali al Khamis. The fifth, identified as Ahmed Abdul Khaleq, was not carrying identification papers.
The group were arrested on order of the public prosecution and questioned in the presence of their lawyers, and are being held in preventive custody for investigation, a statement said. It is unclear whether they remain in custody or have been released without charge.
News of the arrests followed Wednesday's confirmation by the foreign minister that four activists had been arrested. He said their detention was within the limits of the law.
"The public prosecutor in the UAE called some people [in] and those procedures are completely compliant with the UAE laws," Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said at the conclusion of an EU-GCC meeting held last week at Emirates Palace hotel. "We are confident that the UAE laws are transparent and clear. The justice system in the UAE is trustworthy and I don't think there is anyone who is above the law in any way."
Ahmed Mansour was arrested on April 8 at his Dubai home, Fahad Salim was detained on April 9 at his home in Ajman, and Dr Nasser bin Ghaith, an economics professor at Abu Dhabi's Sorbonne University, was arrested in Dubai on April 10.
More recently, on April 15, Abdullah al Shehi was detained for questioning. He was released on April 17, said Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a close friend and professor of political science at UAE University.
Prof Abdullah said Mr al Shehhi, a retired military officer from Ras al Khaimah in his 60s, is being treated for cancer.
Mr al Shehhi is the head of the Al Shahouh Folklore Society, one of the four civil society associations that signed a second petition calling for universal suffrage in upcoming Federal National Council elections.