Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Qatar crisis: UAE threatens sympathisers with prison

The United Arab Emirates has warned that anyone expressing sympathy for Qatar could face up to 15 years in prison, as a regional crisis escalates.

UAE officials said Qatar needed to end its support for terrorist groups, a claim the Gulf state strongly denies.

Several countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut travel and diplomatic links with Qatar on Monday.

Turkey, meanwhile, has promised to fast-track a bill allowing more troops to be based in Qatar.

Reports say Iran and Turkey are also planning to airlift food and water into the country as supplies run low.
The emir of Kuwait is mediating in the dispute and the president of Turkey has also offered to help, but the UAE tightened the squeeze on Qatar on Wednesday.

"Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form," UAE Attorney General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi was quoted as saying by Gulf News.

Separately, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash denied that Gulf Arab states were seeking "regime change" and accused Qatar of being "the main champion of extremism and terrorism in the region".

"The government of Qatar is in denial," he told AFP news agency. "It is trying to describe this as an issue about the independence of their foreign policy, and it is not."

BBC      News.