10 Years for Speaking about Human Rights: UAE jails Ahmed Mansoor
Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Court has sentenced the award-winning Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor to 10 years in jail for “defaming the UAE through social media channels.”
He was also fined 1m Dirhams (£204, 327) for insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols', including its leaders, according to the UAE state-owned publication The National
The prosecutor, according to Gulf News, also accused Mansoor, 48, of damaging the UAE’s reputation abroad by portraying the country as a “lawless land.”
The court, though, reportedly cleared Mansoor of conspiring with a “terrorist organisation.”
On his release, the prosecution have ordered the rights activist to be placed under surveillance for a further three years.
Ahmed Mansoor was arrested in March of last year after falling foul of the UAE’s cyberbercrime laws. He went on to be held for a year without charge in an unverified location without access to a lawyer and was only permitted 2 short, supervised family visits.
In the weeks leading up to his arrest, he had been using social media to call for the release of Emirati prisoner of conscience Osama al-Najjar, who remains in prison despite completing his sentence in March 2017. Al-Najjar himself was convicted in line with the cybercrime law after tweeting about human rights abuses in the UAE.
Ahmed Mansoor is one of the worlds most prominent human rights defenders. Over the years he has worked extensively with international rights organisations to raise awareness to human rights abuses in the UAE. In this capacity, he is a member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and has a seat on the on the advisory committee at Human Rights Watch. In 2015, he won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
In the strongest possible terms, ICFUAE condemn the UAE's court ruling, which is clear breach of international law. Ahmed Mansoor has been imprisoned solely on the basis of exercising his basic rights to freedom of speech and expression. In reality, all that Ahmed is guilty of is raising awareness of the systematic human rights violations in his country. We urgently reiterate our calls for his immediate and unconditional release. Pending this, however, we call on the UAE authorities to immediately reveal Mansoor's detention location; ensure that he is protected from torture and other forms of mistreatment and is treated in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; and allow UN experts, or international NGOs access to visit him in prison.
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- For more information on the ruling, please see https://www.thenational.ae/uae/courts/emirati-convicted-for-second-time-of-insulting-country-and-leaders-1.735523