“We were not happy to see he was detained in the first place,” Mr. Gill said in a phone interview, “but we’re happy that they freed him.”
Mr. Ghafoor had been held since July 14 at Dubai International Airport. The United Arab Emirates said it had convicted him based on the findings of an investigation into him it had opened at the United States’ request, though the State Department said the United States had not asked for his arrest.
Mr. Ghafoor, who lives in Virginia and works in Washington, had helped set up a human rights group with Mr. Khashoggi, the Saudi columnist for The Washington Post who was murdered in 2018 by Saudi agents in Turkey. He sits on the board of an advocacy group that Mr. Khashoggi founded and has been critical of the United Arab Emirates over its record of prosecuting and imprisoning dissidents.
Mr. Ghafoor’s supporters have said that in addition to the case possibly being politically motivated, he had been denied due process and was unaware of the charges before being detained.