The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) today denounced the judgment issued by an Emirati court to imprison two human rights advocates and online activists on the backdrop of the use of the Internet to peacefully express their opinions and to expose encroachments committed, by Emirati authorities, against detainees.
Abu Dhabi Federal Court, during a hearing held on December 25, sentenced human rights advocate “Mohamed Salem Al-Zumer” to three years in prison and fined him 500.000 Emirati Dirham ($160.000) over the accusation of insulting the president as well as the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. The accusation is based on tweets were posted on the advocate’s personal account of “Twitter”, in which he mentioned that the state has paid to a private company to set up an army of mercenaries in order to repress freedoms. Al-Zumer is also accused of damaging the reputation of Emirati state security body after saying that they torture detainees in prisons. On the other hand, the court acquitted him of a charge of being a member of the Reform and Social Guidance Association (al-Islah).
On 5 December 2012, Emirati security bodies arrested “Mohamed Salem Al-Zumer” and confiscated his personal items; his cellular phone and Ipad. Some information had been disseminated over torturing Al-Zumar by security bodies during his detention period.
The court has issued a default judgment on “Abdul Rahman Omar Bajubair, a human rights advocate who lives outside the UAE, to take him into custody for 5 years on charges of managing a site called “Motazamenon”, offending the honour of Federal Court’s judges, and overtly breaching the court’s prestige; due to writing details of the trial of detainees, which is known in media as the 94 detainees case.
ANHRI said, “These judgments issued against activists in light of their use of the Internet to voice their opinions peacefully, prove that Emirati authorities enacted the cybercrime law to gag the opposition and to repress online bloggers and activists. Authorities arbitrarily use this notorious law against activists and bloggers to convict them and languish them behind bars.”
ANHRI elaborated that by these verdicts, the number of activists who have been convicted under the cybercrime law is five; including a US director who lives in the UAE.
ANHRI calls on Emirati authorities to release all prisoners of conscience and to drop all accusations against them. It also calls for rescinding those articles in the cybercrime law that repress freedoms.
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