Friday 12.3.2021 in Latest Developments in United Arab Emirates Country Page
#UAE jails Jordanian for 10 years for criticizing #Jordan’s government. @HRW says Ahmed Etoum was sentenced in October solely for peaceful Facebook posts on corruption and inequality in Jordan. https://t.co/i9uR04Ti8d— Linda Hemby (@LindaHemby) February 14, 2021
On 11th February 2021, Human Rights Watch criticised the decision of a United Arab Emirates court to sentence a Jordanian resident of the UAE to ten years in prison followed by deportation, the confiscation of devices used “in the crime,” the deletion of incriminating posts and the shutdown of his social media accounts, in retaliation against peaceful Facebook posts criticising the Jordanian Government. In October 2020, Ahmed Etoum was convicted of using Facebook to commit “acts against a foreign state” that could “damage political relations” with that state and “endanger national security” inside the UAE, for his peaceful criticism of the Jordanian royal family and government. Prior to his arrest and conviction, Etoum had lived in the UAE for five years with his wife and family. Both he and his wife worked as teachers in Abu Dhabi and Etoum frequently used his Facebook profile to express political opinions, including peaceful criticism of the Jordanian royal family, the Jordanian Government and its intelligence agency.
Furthermore, in its World Report 2021, Human Rights Watch highlighted the responsibility of the UAE for serious human rights violations, at home and abroad. The report was particularly critical of the UAE’s tendency to “jail peaceful critics on baseless charges” despite “presenting itself as an open and rights-respecting country.”
In an extensive joint report published on 27th January 2021, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch revealed new details regarding the UAE authorities’ persecution of high-profile human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor. The 30-page report reveals the extent of the grave violations of Mansoor’s human rights and demonstrates the impunity of the State Security Agency in committing these abuses. The report sheds light on previously unrevealed details concerning Mansoor’s closed trial on speech-related charges, as well as the serious, systemic violations of his due process and fair trial guarantees under international human rights law. Further details reveal the appalling detention conditions in which Mansoor has been kept since his arrest in March 2017, including indefinite solitary confinement and the deprivation of reading materials, a bed, a mattress and other basic necessities. He has also been refused regular visits or calls with his wife and four sons.
As previously reported on the Monitor, UAE security forces arrested Mansoor in a late-night house raid on 20th March 2017. In May 2018, the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeals’ State Security Chamber sentenced Mansoor to ten years in prison on charges entirely related to his human rights activities. On 31st December 2018, the court of last resort, the Federal Supreme Court, upheld his unjust sentence, quashing his final chance at early release. Both trials were completely closed and the government has refused requests to make public the charge sheet and court rulings.