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UAE: Human rights lawyer Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori dismissed after criticising lack of freedom of expression
On 28 December 2009, Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori was dismissed from his position as a legal advisor to the Emirate by the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi. The dismissal came after Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori gave an interview on “Al Hiwar”, a television channel, on Sunday 20 December in which he criticised the lack of freedom of speech in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori is a prominent human rights activist and lawyer, and a member of the Jurists' Association of the UAE.
During the interview on 20 December, Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori spoke about freedom of expression in the UAE and gave his opinion that it is regressing on a daily basis and that censorship is applied to newspapers. Furthermore he criticised a draft media law which is currently pending final ratification by the President of the UAE.
Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori alleged that torture is still being practised by some security agencies, although it is in decline in police stations. In relation to human rights defenders, he stated that "the human rights activists and their jobs are at risk and sometimes they get terminated”.
An order of dismissal was verbally delivered directly to Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori after a meeting he had with Crown Prince Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi on 28 December. A written version of the notice has yet to be received but the dismissal came into effect immediately.
The dismissal follows the arrest of Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori in Abu-Dhabi on 7 June 2009, which was carried out without an arrest warrant or without any specific reason given. Following his arrest, an order was issued on 7 June 2009 which granted his release on a temporary basis and which prevents him from leaving the country. The order remains in effect to date. Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori has been subject to a travel ban since October 2007 and had his passport confiscated in March 2008. Front Line previously issued an appeal regarding Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori on 15 June 2009.
Front Line believes that the dismissal of Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori is a direct result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights, particularly the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Front Line sees this as forming part of an ongoing pattern of harassment against Dr Mohammed al-Mansoori and fears for his physical and psychological integrity.
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