Sunday Nov 27, 201110:10 AM GMT
Five UAE activists get jail terms
Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:13AM
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Ahmed Mansoor, pictured here at a press conference in Dubai in January 2011.
Five pro-democracy activists in the United Arab Emirates have been sentenced to prison terms of up to three years for insulting the country's US-backed authoritarian leaders.

Blogger Ahmed Mansoor, who was detained in April, was handed down a three-year jail term by a court on Sunday, AFP reported.

Four other activists, Nasser bin Gaith, Fahid Salim Dalk, Hassan Ali Khamis and Ahmed Abdul Khaleq were each sentenced to two-year prison terms.

All activists were accused of using the Internet to insult UAE leaders, call for a boycott of September's Federal National Council elections and for anti-government protests.

Their detention came after a petition calling for constitutional reforms and political freedoms was signed by over 100 people and circulated on the Internet.

Earlier this month, a number of rights groups, including the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, criticized their trial as "grossly unfair."

The rights groups in a joint statement had called for "all five to be released immediately and unconditionally."

The UAE Federal Supreme Court, however, said it would announce its verdict, which they cannot appeal.

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