Former Khashogi lawyer sentenced to three years in prison in United Arab Emirates

Asim Ghafoor, former lawyer of Saudi journalist Yamal Khashogi, brutally murdered by Saudi agents at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, has been sentenced in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to three years in prison for tax evasion and money laundering.

The lawyer, a U.S. citizen, was allegedly “arbitrarily” detained while on a stopover in the UAE, according to the human rights organization to which he belongs, Democracy Now for the Arab World (DAWN).

Ghafoor has been found guilty of two offenses of tax evasion and money laundering in connection with a single operation that will lead him to pay, in addition, a fine of three million dirhams (more than 800,000 euros), as reported by the state news agency WAM.

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The case against him has gone ahead after US authorities asked the UAE for help in conducting an investigation against Ghafoor for alleged tax evasion following a series of “suspicious” transfers to the Middle Eastern country.

The organization to which he belongs, however, denounces that there is “no public evidence” to support Ghafoor’s detention, and therefore demands the “immediate release” of the activist.

Ghafoor normally resides in the state of Virginia, but traveled on July 14 to Dubai, a stopover to his final destination, Istanbul. Ghafoor sent a text message reporting that two plainclothes Emirati agents approached him as he was waiting for his plane to depart.

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