The Washington Post

U.S. says it did not seek lawyer’s arrest

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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.”

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