UAE: Activist Mansoor loses appeal against 10-year term, says Amnesty

DUBAI: A United Arab Emirates appeals court upheld a 10-year jail sentence against pro-democracy campaigner Ahmed Mansoor for criticising the government on social media, two sources familiar with the case said on Monday.

A trade and tourism hub, the UAE is an absolute monarchy which tolerates little public criticism. Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet, was among five activists convicted and later pardoned for insulting the UAE’s rulers in 2011.

He was arrested again in March 2017 at his home in Ajman on charges of publishing false information and rumours, and of promoting a sectarian and hate-incited agenda.

Mansoor was also charged with using social media to “harm national unity and social harmony and damage the country’s reputation.”

In May 2018 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and handed a fine of 1 million dirhams (US$270,000).

An appeals court in Abu Dhabi upheld both the jail sentence and fine on Monday, the two sources said on condition of anonymity.

Rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW), have urged the UAE to release Mansoor, calling his detention a violation of freedom of expression and opinion.

HRW in March 2018 said Mansoor is believed to have been held in solitary confinement.

[source_without_link]Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]