DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A rights center says two lawyers detained by the United Arab Emirates in an crackdown on political dissent have begun a hunger strike.

The U.K.-based Emirates Center for Human Rights said Mohamed al-Mansoori and Mohamed al-Roken went on hunger strike Sunday to protest what they consider their illegal detention.

They were moved from an Abu Dhabi jail to an undisclosed location Saturday. They complain that they have been denied access to their families as well as legal counsel, the Center said Monday.

The UAE has sharply increased pressure on political activists and bloggers since Arab Spring uprisings last year, accusing many of jeopardizing state security and having foreign ties.

As many as 54 people are in detention, the group said. The two lawyers were detained last month.