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As UAE Prosecutes Online Critics, Ban Does Not Raise to FM, Instead Syria & Iran

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 -- Amid crackdowns throughout Middle East on not only physical but also intellectual opposition, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon seems to focus on the former.

On November 3, Inner City Press asked Ban's Deputy Spokesman Eduardo Del Buey

Inner City Press: In the UAE there is a trial of five on-line activists. They have been put on trial in what's called the UAE five case for insulting UAE Government officials in an on-line forum, and Amnesty International and a variety of groups have said that the trial is a travesty and that international organizations should speak against it. I am wondering if anyone in the UN system is observing that trial, do you have any statement on the UAE putting essentially bloggers on trial for their speech.

Deputy Spokesperson: No, we have no statement on that yet. If we have anything, we will let you know.

  While Ban's Spokesperson has yet to issue any statement on the UAE's so-called "Franz Kafka" blogger trial, the Office did put out a read-out of Ban's meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 meetings in Cannes with the UAE's foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahya, with no mention of the trail or crackdowns by the UAE.

  Instead, Ban says he discussed Syria and "they also discussed the situation in Iran." What about the situation in the UAE?

(c) UN Photo
Ban & FM of UAE on Nov 3, crackdown on online critics not shown or discussed?

  Inner City Press also asked about Ban's whirlwind stop off in Libya on his way to the G-20 meeting in Cannes:

Inner City Press: Yesterday I asked you, maybe you have an answer now, when the Secretary-General flew to Libya -- he has now left so there is no security concerns -- on whose aircraft did he fly? Did he fly commercial?

Deputy Spokesperson: He flew, he and the delegation flew from here to Frankfurt on commercial aircraft, and then from Frankfurt to Libya on a UN-chartered aircraft; and then from Libya to Nice on a UN-chartered aircraft.

Inner City Press: just contracted out, paid?

Deputy Spokesperson: To the best of my knowledge, yes... A UN-chartered aircraft.

  There are mounting questions about the costs and manner of Ban Ki-moon's travels. Watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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