London: Prominent United Arab Emirates (UAE) rights activist and critic Alaa al-Siddiq died in a car crash in London on Saturday.
Alaa was the executive director of the United Kingdom-based ALQST, a non-profit organisation that advocates for greater freedom and human rights in the UAE and the wider Gulf region, according to Al Jazeera.
In a statement on Sunday, the group said: “With deep sadness, ALQST mourns the death of its Executive Director, icon of the Emirati human rights movement Alaa Al-Siddiq, in a tragic traffic accident on Saturday, 19 June 2021.”
Alaa’s father, Mohammad al-Siddiq, is also a prominent activist who has been held in detention by Emirati authorities since 2013.
“Many people will remember her tireless devotion to her work; her passion for helping others and standing up for them; her powerful defence of human rights; and her efforts in support of worthy causes,” the ALQST said in its statement.
The activist’s presence in Qatar, and Doha’s stance towards political activists had led to a rift between the two neighbours, according to Al Jazeera.
In 2018, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said a dispute had taken place between Qatar and the UAE in 2015 concerning a political dissident’s wife.
Abu Dhabi had sent an envoy to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to ask that the woman in question – later revealed to be Alaa – be handed over to Emirati authorities, a request that was turned down by the Qatari ruler.