The former lawyer of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was sentenced to three years in prison in the United Arab Emirates, according to a state news agency. His detainment came hours before President Joe Biden met with UAE’s President Sheikh Mohammed in Saudi Arabia.
Biden was already facing backlash for fist bumping Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which was quickly captured and broadcast on Saudi state television.
Their meeting was fiercely controversial due to the US’ intelligence community determination that the crown prince approved Khashoggi’s assassination.
Just after that meeting, before another planned with the UAE’s leader, a human rights group reported that Khashoggi’s former lawyer had been detained in Dubai at an airport.
Asim Ghafoor, who is a US citizen and board member of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), was reportedly arrested on charges related to money laundering, but “had no knowledge of any legal matter against him and no reason to believe he was involved in any legal dispute in the UAE,” according to a Friday news release issued by DAWN.
The organization pleaded with Biden to address Ghafoor’s detainment and rapid trial, but both Biden and UAE’s President Sheikh Mohammed ignored questions that were shouted at them during their publicized meeting.
Biden then publicly invited the UAE leader to the White House before the end of the year.