Activist Ahmed Mansoor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting the United Arab Emirates government but was cleared of terrorism-related charges.
Prominent Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor has been sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined $272,000 (1 million dirhams) on charges of criticising the United Arab Emirates government on social media, The National newspaper reported late on Wednesday.
A trade and tourism hub, the UAE is an absolute monarchy that tolerates little public criticism of its ruling system and has prosecuted Mansoor and other pro-democracy activists for what it called insulting the country’s leaders.
The National said, Mansoor insulted the "status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols," and its leaders and was trying to damage the country's relationship with its neighbours.
Second time around
Mansoor was among five activists convicted of those charges in 2011 amid the Arab Spring protests calling for reform in other Arab states.
The case had become known as the "UAE five" in 2011 and Mansoor was sentenced to three years in prison but was pardoned by the president.
Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet, was arrested in March 2017 and accused of promoting a sectarian and hate-incited agenda. The court cleared him of terrorist-related charges, according to The National.
Rights groups have called for Mansoor's release, calling his detention a violation of freedom of expression and opinion.