Virginia lawmakers urge action on behalf of detained lawyer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Thirty Virginia legislators have called on the Biden administration to take action on behalf of Asim Ghafoor, a friend and former lawyer of slain dissident Jamal Khashoggi who’s been imprisoned by the United Arab Emirates.

Ghafoor, a Virginia resident, was arrested earlier this month and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of money laundering and tax evasion. Human rights groups have questioned the conviction.

The UAE has suggested the arrest was done in coordination with the U.S., but the State Department says the U.S. has never sought Ghafoor’s arrest. Virginia Delegate Sam Rasoul, a Roanoke Democrat, led the signature effort among state lawmakers.

The letter, dated Saturday, urges Biden to raise the issue of Ghafoor’s arrest directly with the UAE’s president.

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