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ANHRI condemns blogger's extended detention

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 6 June 2011 - ANHRI has condemned the arbitrary and extended detention without trial or charge of the notable activist Ahmed Mansour. Mansour has been illegally detained by the secret police since April 2011.

Abdul Hamid Al Kamiti, Mansour's lawyer, told ANHRI that the State Security Court decided on 30 May to extend Mansour's detention for 10 days, despite the fact that the prosecution had earlier pledged to hear the case within 48 hours.

Mansour is an internet activist who writes a blog called "Oppressed Emirati Citizen" ( http://emarati.katib.org/ ), in which he has criticised situations in the UAE and documented a number of human rights violations. He was detained in April after signing a petition demanding political reforms in the UAE.

Mansour is not the first Emirati activist to be jailed for expressing his opinion. On 25 April, Ali Abdullah El Shehi, Nasser Ben Gheth, Fahd Salim, Hassan Ali Al Khamis and Ahmed Abdul Khalek Ahmed were all detained and accused of "inciting people to disobey the law", "conducting activities liable to endanger the security of the state", "violating public order", and "insulting the president, his deputy and the Abu Dhabi crown prince". To date, none of the cases have been heard in court.

"The extension of (Mansour's) detention without trial is an arbitrary measure by the Emirati authorities who are still trying to find a reason for his detention. This raises fears of possible trumped up allegations against Mansour and the other activists and for freedom of opinion and expression in the UAE," said ANHRI.

ANHRI calls on the Emirati authorities to stop detaining activists and bloggers and to create an open environment for freedom of opinion and expression. ANHRI further demands the immediate release of all activists and prisoners of conscience and full respect for human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression.

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