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UAE upholds life sentence of Turkish NGO worker

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7 months 1 week

UAE upholds life sentence of Turkish NGO worker

The United Arab Emirates' Supreme Federal Court has upheld the life sentence of NGO worker Mehmet Ali Ozturk.

The Turkish citizen was accused of fundraising for Syrian rebel groups, the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) has reported.

Ozturk, who travelled to the UAE in February 17 along with 75 Turkish businessmen to participate in the annual food trade show held in Dubai, was arrested in his hotel room on February 20 for unknown reasons. His wife, who was with him at the time, was also detained.

In response to his arrest, activists launched an online campaign demanding his release using the hashtag #MehmetAliÖztürkeözgürlük.

Last month, the UAE charged eight Lebanese citizens with "terrorism" after denying them legal representation.

Human Rights Watch said their trial was "marred with violations," with the UAE using the "spectre of terrorism to justify its utter lack of respect for the rule of law".

In recent weeks, rights NGOs have urged the British authorities to warn its citizens against travelling to the UAE following a string of arbitrary arrests of UK nationals.

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