Emirati human rights defender accused of 'promoting sectarian hatred'

Published March 21st, 2017 - 11:18 GMT
Ahmed Mansoor. (AFP)
Ahmed Mansoor. (AFP)

The Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor has been accused of “promoting sectarian hatred” and “damaging the United Arab Emirates' reputation abroad”, according to the Abu Dhabi Justice Department.

Mansoor was arrested from his home in Amjan on the early hours of 20 March.

The statement said that he would be kept in detention until the completion of the investigation against him.

A day prior to his arrest, Mansoor had posted a message on Twitter calling for the release of another Emirati activist, Osama al-Najjar, whose three-year prison term had ended, but who was still being held by the authorities.

 

The message was posted with the hashtag “Freedom for Osama al-Najjar” and read, “His sentence has ended, but the Emirati authorities have not released him. It’s a dangerous and unprecedented gesture and may constitute a future approach to prisoners of conscience.”

According to the statement from the Justice Department, Mansoor was using social media to tell his followers not to follow the law and portray the United Arab Emirates as a “lawless land”, although it was not clear if the accusations stemmed from this post.

Rights groups had yesterday condemned his arrest, with Amnesty International calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

When asked to comment on the new accusations, Drewery Dyke, the organization’s Gulf Researcher, said, “On the basis of the evidence that’s been produced by the UAE government through the media, the allegations against Mansoor do not add up, and we are calling for his immediate and unconditional release.”

Khalid Ibrahim, the Executive Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, told Al Bawaba that Mansoor’s “arrest is a cruel and devastating blow to human rights in the UAE and demonstrates the authorities’ intent to completely silence human rights defenders at all costs."

"It exposes the UAE authorities’ rhetoric on human rights as utterly meaningless and shows their complete disdain for the basic principles of international human rights law and standards.”

Jacob Burns


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