Sign up for weekly updates

Call for end of trial of democracy petitioners

Human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor with Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Whitson at a press conference in Dubai in January 2011
Human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor with Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Whitson at a press conference in Dubai in January 2011

Human Rights Watch

Earlier in June, five pro-democracy activists in the United Arab Emirates - whose crimes include signing a petition demanding free elections for all citizens - went on trial. Join Human Rights Watch in calling on U.A.E. ambassadors to ensure the trial is halted and the activists are freed.

The five activists, who include prominent political blogger and member of Human Rights Watch's Middle East advisory committee Ahmed Mansoor and university lecturer Nasser bin Ghaith, have been detained since April for insulting the authorities and criticising and undermining the government in relation to the their online writing and activism. All have used the Internet to call for increased political rights in the U.A.E.

The five pleaded not guilty on 14 June during a closed-door hearing in Abu Dhabi's federal Supreme Court.

According to Human Rights Watch, the trial follows a politically motivated campaign of intimidation and harassment against pro-democracy advocates after they signed a petition published in March that sought constitutional and parliamentary changes in U.A.E.

Local news reports said that dozens of pro-government protesters holding banners and flags gathered outside the courtroom and shouted slogans condemning the activists. The next hearing is scheduled for 18 July.

"U.A.E. rulers are prosecuting these activists solely for advocating democratic reforms," said Human Rights Watch. "The authorities should end this shameful crackdown on peaceful dissent."

Sign a letter to U.A.E. ambassadors here.
Related stories on
  • Free activists before elections, say four rights groups

    International rights groups seek to monitor trial of 5 activists during 26 September trial appearance.

  • End trial of activists charged with insulting officials

    UAE authorities should drop charges against five activists arrested after they called for democratic reforms, four international human rights organizations said today.

  • Activists arrested for opposing government

    Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates followed in the footsteps of its neighbours and arrested at least five rights activists who have been demanding political reforms over the Internet. Egypt-based rights organisations, including IFEX members Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), have banded together to demand the release of the activists, while Human Rights Watch is appealing to international organisations to pull out of UAE.

Latest Tweet:

#Venezuela: Periodistas agredidos mientras los venezolanos se toman las calles como protesta al gobierno de Maduro