Prominent Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor has been sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined 1 million UAE dirham ($349,500 Cdn) on charges of criticizing the United Arab Emirates government on social media, Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper reported late Wednesday.
A trade and tourism hub, the United Arab Emirates 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.
Mansoor was among five activists convicted of those charges in 2011 amid the “Arab Spring” protests calling for reform in other Arab states.
Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet, was arrested in March 2017 and accused of promoting a sectarian and hate-inciting 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.