Several notable human rights activists and other “peaceful dissidents” imprisoned in the UAE have been asked to be released by European Union legislators.
The EU Parliament criticized alleged rights violations in the affluent Gulf state and urged the “immediate” and unconditional release of Ahmed Mansoor, Mohammed al-Roken, and Nasser bin Ghaith in a strongly worded resolution voted by the EU body.
The resolution was passed with a large majority, with 383 parliamentarians voting in favor. Only 47 MPs voted against the bill, while 259 abstained.
Mansoor was arrested in 2017 and later sentenced to ten years in prison for disseminating false material and “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE” in social media posts. Amnesty International has designated the activist as a “prisoner of conscience,” claiming that he has been confined in solitary confinement since his detention.
Amnesty International has designated Al-Roken, a human rights lawyer, as a “prisoner of conscience.” The 58-year-old is currently serving a ten-year sentence after being convicted of attempting to overthrow the government in a mass trial in July 2013 that also saw a number of other defendants convicted.
In March 2017, Bin Ghaith, an economist and scholar, was sentenced to ten years in prison for a series of social media remarks deemed critical of UAE authorities.
The resolution passed by the European Parliament asked for the release of “all other human rights defenders, political activists, and peaceful dissidents” held in the country.
It urged EU member states to boycott the Expo 2020 world fair in Dubai “in order to signal their disapproval of the human rights violations in the UAE,” recommending they “withdraw their sponsorship.”
After a year-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 is set to begin on October 1.