Prominent human rights activist sentenced to 10 years in prison for speaking out on social media

Access Now calls for the immediate and unconditional release of human rights defender and blogger Ahmed Mansoor.

A prominent human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ahmed Mansoor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined one million dirhams ($272,000) for “defaming” the country on social media. The court also ordered him to be put under surveillance for three years after his release.

“The circumstances surrounding Ahmed Mansoor’s detention and sentencing are shocking, and fall short of any semblance of fair trial,” said Melody Patry, Advocacy Director at Access Now. “Convicting a peaceful human rights defender whose vital work is recognized across the globe follows a disturbing trend of arresting critics for speaking out online.”

Ahmed Mansoor was arrested in March 2017 and has been held in solitary confinement with no access to a lawyer of his choosing. This is not the first time Mansoor has been persecuted by the authorities. After he was arrested in 2011 – and later pardoned – for calling for economic and political reforms, he was repeatedly targeted by hacking attempts with sophisticated malware used by the UAE government, and suffered reprisals including confiscation of his passport, loss of money and his car, and physical beatings.

Access Now renews our call on the UAE authorities to:
– Release Ahmed Mansoor immediately and unconditionally, as he was sentenced solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression;
– Pending his release, ensure that he is protected from torture, discrimination, and other ill-treatment, including prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement which can amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, and retains his passport, bank account, and other assets;
– Pending his release, ensure that he is granted immediate and regular access to a lawyer of his choosing, his family, and to any medical treatment he may require.

Access Now previously raised attention to this case in our submission to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of the UAE, and we encourage the High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn Mansoor’s detention in the upcoming 38th Session of the Council next month.