TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A United Arab Emirates appeals court upheld a 10-year jail sentence against prominent pro-democracy activist Ahmed Mansoor on charges of criticizing the Emirati government on social media, two sources familiar with the case said on Monday.
The court also confirmed a fine of 1 million dirhams ($270,000) against Mansoor, the sources said, Reuters reported.
Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet was arrested on March 20 last year after authorities accused him of using social media platforms Twitter and Facebook to “publish false information and rumors, spread tendentious ideas that would sow sedition, sectarianism and hatred and harm national unity and social peace, as well as harming the state’s reputation and inciting disobedience.”
The activist, who was awarded the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2015, remained in solitary confinement for more than a year.
Since 2006, the blogger has campaigned for freedom of expression, civil and political rights in the UAE.
Rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, condemned the sentencing, saying it lays bare the UAE’s inability “to tolerate the mildest of criticisms from a genuine reformer.”