Author held in Abu Dhabi for snapping embassies

Author held in Abu Dhabi for snapping embassies
Albrecht's author photo from publisher Wallstein. Photo: Dario Damiano for Wallstein Verlag.
A German author has been held in Abu Dhabi for two weeks, accused of espionage because he photographed a couple of embassy buildings.

"I'm living in a Kafka novel," said Jörg Albrecht, 32, who said he did not know when he would be allowed to leave.

"I am being held here without any information," he told Die Zeit newspaper. A court in the Arab Emirate suggested he would have to wait at least another week before being freed – and now he is collecting support from other writers in a petition to the Abu Dhabi authorities.

Albrecht was a guest at the Abu Dhabi book fair during the first week of May. He said he took photos of two buildings on May 1st, and was shortly afterwards arrested.

It was then that he discovered the buildings he had photographed, were the embassies of Iraq and Iran.

Although he was only held by the police for three days, his publishing house Wallstein Verlag says he cannot leave the country and is stuck in a hotel.

Albrecht told Die Zeit he acknowledged that he had broken the law of the land, but suggested that in such cases where a foreigner was involved, there was usually a fine to pay.

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