Human rights groups urge United Arab Emirates to release activist unconditionally

June 28, 2017 5:26 pm

Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor

groups and political figures have expressed concerns about the incarceration of rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
Marking 100 days of Mansoor’s detention, the campaigners made the plea in a joint letter addressed to UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and published on Tuesday.
Since 2006, Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet, has campaigned for freedom of expression, civil and political rights in the UAE.
In 2011, he was convicted of “insulting officials” and sentenced to three years in jail, but he was released after serving eight months.
In March, UAE security officials broke into the activist’s home in the city of Ajman, conducted an extensive search for electronic devices, and took him away. 
The official WAM agency quoted the public prosecutor as saying that Mansoor had used social media “to publish false information and rumors as well as promoting (a) sectarian and hate-incited agenda.”
The joint letter said the charges leveled against the activist “relate solely to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and therefore we consider him a prisoner of conscience.”
“The continuing detention of such a high-profile and internationally respected human rights campaigner is extremely damaging to the UAE government’s reputation abroad,” it added.
The campaigner is currently said to be held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer and family calls.
Recently, Amnesty International hailed Mansoor as a “prominent human rights defender in the ,” stressing that he was detained for the peaceful expression of his beliefs.
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