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Alaa al-Siddiq: Social media pays tribute to prominent Emirati rights activist

Siddiq, who died in a car crash in the UK on Sunday, was a vocal defender of human rights and had campaigned for the release of political prisoners, including her father
Siddiq campaigned for the release of her father from a UAE prison, but didn't live to see him freed. Only nine months of his sentence remain (Screengrab/Twitter)

Tributes have poured in on social media for Emirati rights activist Alaa al-Siddiq who died in a car crash in Oxfordshire on Saturday while out celebrating her birthday. 

Siddiq, who had just turned 33, gained asylum in the UK in 2018 after she had been driven out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during its campaign against dissidents between 2011 and 2012. Initial reports erroneously said she had died in London.

She served as the executive director of the human rights organisation Al Qst. The group confirmed her death on Sunday, saying “Alaa was a friend, colleague, and sister to everyone around her, always striving to help others”.

The Arabic hashtag #آلاء_الصديق_في_ذمة_الله, a phrase similar to "rest in peace", was used by social media users paying tribute to the activist.  

Those who had interacted personally with Siddiq joined the wave of tributes, remembering the quality of her character.

Meanwhile, others took the opportunity to note the importance of the activist’s work. One user commented that Alaa was “brilliant, brave, beautiful and devastatingly eloquent”.

Alaa’s work focused on the release of political prisoners in the UAE, including her father, Mohammad, who has been stripped of his UAE citizenship. He has been held in arbitrary detention in Abu Dhabi since 2012. Only nine months remain of his sentence.

Some social media users questioned whether her father would be released so that he could attend Alaa’s funeral.

US-based advocacy group Democracy for the Arab World Now urged the UAE in a statement on Sunday to immediately release Mohammad al-Siddiq so that he could attend his daughter’s funeral.