United States

Arab Spring energizes Gulf's stateless


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Ahmed Abdul Khaleq, a stateless rights activist from UAE, speaks to Reuters during an interview in Bangkok after being deported to Thailand in this July 17, 2012 file photo. When Ahmed Abdul Khaleq started campaigning for the rights of his fellow stateless people in the United Arab Emirates, he was well aware he was risking something most activists were not - his home. After two months in jail for what he said was his human rights activism and campaigning for the stateless, he was given a choice: life in jail or deportation. Abdul Khaleq's expulsion is a rare measure taken against stateless residents in the UAE. But his story is indicative of the plight of all bidoon, an Arabic word meaning ''without'', tens of thousands without citizenship under strict nationality laws in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states, where citizens enjoy generous welfare benefits. To match Feature GULF-STATELESS/ REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang/Files