The Washington Post
U.S. says it did not seek lawyer’s arrest
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that the United States is requesting “additional information” from the United Arab Emirates about the arrest of Asim Ghafoor, a U.S. citizen and former attorney for slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The UAE sentenced Ghafoor over the weekend to three years in prison on charges of money laundering and tax evasion after an in-absentia conviction sometime in the past, according to the Associated Press.
The UAE said Saturday that U.S. authorities had requested UAE help with an investigation into Ghafoor’s alleged crimes. Price, however, said the United States did not seek Ghafoor’s arrest and conveyed to the UAE its expectation that he “be afforded a fair and transparent legal process and that he be treated humanely.”
Ghafoor’s attorney, Faisal Gill, said his client had not heard anything about his conviction in the UAE before his arrest or seen any documentation for the charges. Ghafoor was not facing any criminal charges in the United States, Gill said.
Ghafoor had represented Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. When asked about the basis for Ghafoor’s arrest, Price said, “We see no indication at this point that his detention has anything to do with his association with Jamal Khashoggi, but we’re still gathering information.”
When asked whether the United States had requested that the UAE investigate Ghafoor in the first place, Price referred the question to the Justice Department.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency “does not publicly comment on communications with foreign governments on investigative matters, including confirming or denying the very existence of such communications.”