UAE 'made up' quotes from British MPs
A British MP has accused the UAE's government-run news agency of making up quotes in support of the Gulf state's oppressive human rights policies.
Last weekend the Emirati website, Gulf News, published a story headed "British House of Commons praises human rights in UAE". In fact, the House of Commons had done no such thing, and the story was based on remarks claimed to have been made during a visit to the UAE by just two of Britain's 650 MPs.
Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham, was quoted as saying: "The situation of human rights in the UAE seems to be good".
The source for the Gulf News story was the official Emirati news agency, WAM.
WAM itself published a similar story headed "House of Commons MPs laud UAE human rights record". It said the visiting British MPs "valued the UAE's commitment to respecting human rights" and claimed that another MP, Flick Drummond had said both the UAE and EHRA [the UAE's government-approved human rights organisation] were "moving on the right track".
The two reports were later deleted from the internet, as I reported in a blog post on Monday, but so far, neither WAM nor Gulf News has given any explanation for the deletions or issued any correction to the stories.
Yesterday, in response to a question on Twitter, Stephen Timms said: "The story is wrong and quotes made up. We visited EHRA and raised human rights with them, as well as with [the] foreign minister and others."