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Detained UAE blogger’s family decries smear campaign
The family of a blogger on trial for calling for political change in the United Arab Emirates has condemned what it calls a smear campaign against him and urged the government to try to rein in people calling for his death.
November 10, 2011 11:09 by Reuters
Ahmed Mansoor is one of five activists accused of encouraging protests, insulting the country’s rulers and disrupting public order earlier this year, in a case described by rights groups as a travesty of justice.
In a statement distributed by his lawyer Mohammed al-Roken, Mansoor’s family said a widely-circulated voice message inviting people to kill him in the run-up to the latest court hearing was proof of an organised effort to provoke violence against him.
The voice message consisted of a poem which names Mansoor and concludes: “Anyone who kills him is excused,” the statement said.
“Our son Ahmed has been subjected to all kinds of incitement and betrayal and doubt in his devotion and insults and slurs against him and his father and elderly mother,” the statement added.
“We call on the authorities and public opinion to intervene to prevent ongoing infringements against our son.”
The family said messages spread via the Internet, phone and television channels had also demanded Mansoor’s citizenship be revoked.
“What has happened during this period is strange to the morals and values of Emirati society and a blatant interference in the work of the judiciary, which turns public opinion against Ahmed and his imprisoned friends in an unprecedented way.”
Mansoor, the main defendant in the trial, is accused of running a website where others could express anti-government views.
“Ahmed Mansoor is innocent and he has not yet been convicted of any crime and it has not been proven at all that he wrote or said anything to insult (the rulers),” his family said.
The UAE, the world’s third biggest oil exporter, has not seen the kind of protests that have rocked Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.
A verdict in the trial, which began in June, is expected in late November. (Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Andrew Roche)