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Rights groups urge UAE to release democracy activists ahead of elections – The Washington Post.

Rights groups urge UAE to release democracy activists ahead of elections

By Associated Press,

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — International rights groups have called on the United Arab Emirates to release from custody five political activists who campaigned for democratic reforms in the oil-rich Gulf country.

The activists, including a blogger and an academic, were detained in April after they signed an online petition demanding constitutional changes and free elections.

The rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, said in a statement Wednesday authorities should drop the charges against the activists and release them ahead of parliamentary elections, scheduled for Saturday.

The activists have been charged with insulting the UAE’s rulers. The next hearing in the case is set for Sept. 26.

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