UAE activist jailed for ‘insulting nation’

Dubai [UAE], Jun 2 : A prominent Emirati human rights activist, Ahmed Mansoor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for “defaming” the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on social media, as per several local media reports.
The prosecutors said Mansoor was found guilty of damaging the reputation of the country by publishing “rumours and lies about the UAE” and “promoting sectarian feelings and hatred,” CNN reported.
An appeals court announced the sentence and imposed a fine of one million dirhams (USD 270,000).
It also ordered the confiscation of Mansoor’s communication devices and closure of his “anti-national” websites and social media accounts.
In March last year, Mansoor was held under a legislation “tarnishing” the image of the UAE.
He was charged under the country’s cybercrime law which criminalises publication of any information or rumours online “with intent to make sarcasm or damage the reputation, prestige or stature of the state” or any of its rulers, its institutions, its flag, or its anthem, according to the report.
Many international human rights organisation have strongly condemned the move and called for Mansoor’s release.
“The UAE has exposed itself as a brutally repressive place more interested in sending rights defenders to rot in jail than in any real reform,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“So long as Mansoor remains in prison, no amount of money nor army of public relations firms will be able to wash away this stain on the UAE’s reputation,” she added.
Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf said in a statement, “Ahmed Mansoor is one of the few openly critical voices in the UAE, and his persecution is another nail in the coffin for human-rights activism in the country.”
In 2011, the 48-year-old garnered international attention when he and other four activists were tried for “insulting” Emirati politicians.
However, they were pardoned by the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
(ANI)

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