UAE appeals court upholds 10-year jail sentence against activist Ahmed Mansour

UAE appeals court upholds 10-year jail sentence against activist Ahmed Mansour

UAE appeals court upholds 10-year jail sentence against activist Ahmed Mansour

A UAE court on Monday, December 31, upheld a 10-year jail sentence against award-winning human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor for insulting the state, Amnesty International said.

In May, he was sentenced to ten years in prison and handed a fine of one million dirhams ($270,000).

Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet, was arrested in March 2017 at his home in the emirate of Ajman.

Mansoor was part of a group of five who were convicted in 2011 and released later that year after a presidential pardon.

He had been convicted on charges of criticising the Emirate government on social media, two sources familiar with the case said on Monday.

"Ahmed Mansoor's only "crime" was to express his peaceful opinions on social media, and it is outrageous that he is being punished with such a heavy prison sentence".

The lengthy jail term and the hefty fine were handed down to Mansoor back in May, when he was found guilty of allegedly seeking to damage the UAE's reputation and harm the absolute monarchy's relationship with its regional neighbors by posting false information and rumors online.

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United Nations human rights experts, the European Parliament and rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW), are among those to have urged the UAE to release Mansoor and condemned his detention as a violation of freedom of expression and opinion.

Amnesty's Maalouf said the court's decision is final and can not be appealed, and she called on the Emirati authorities to quash his conviction, "and release him immediately and unconditionally".

The ruling by the Federal Supreme Court is final and can not be appealed, the London-based rights group said in a statement.

Since 2006, the blogger has campaigned for freedom of expression, civil and political rights in the UAE.

He's been described by the awarding body as "one of the few voices within the UAE who provide a credible independent assessment of human rights developments in the country".

"The UAE's railroading of prominent human rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor is yet another stain on the country's reputation", Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher at HRW, said.

His arrest in March 2017 under the Gulf state's cyber-crime law triggered an global outcry led by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty.

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