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Report: US democracy workers detained in UAE

Workers at a United States pro-democracy group were detained by the United Arab Emirates government, according to a report - a move that echoes a clampdown last month by Egypt that drew criticism from Washington.

Foreign Policy reported that the UAE government detained foreign employees of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and prevented at least one of them from leaving the country.

It said the director of NDI's Dubai office, Patricia Davis, an American, and her deputy director Slobodon Milic, a Serbian national, were stopped at the Dubai airport by UAE government authorities as they tried to leave the country.

It quoted a State Department spokesman saying Davis’ detention had been brief. There was no word on whether Milic was eventually allowed to leave. There was no immediate response from the department to msnbc.com.

A crackdown on the organization was announced by the UAE last week, coinciding with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s peace visit to the Middle East. The New York Times described that move, and its timing, as “a surprising act of diplomatic defiance”.

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