Sunday, November 27, 2011

UAE: Five bloggers get up to three years for criticizing rulers

    Five United Arab Emirates activists have been given sentences of two to three years for messages critical of the leaders of the UAE.  See this link for information about the UAE. The group also called for a boycott of the Federal National Council elections in September. They also called for anti-government demonstrations.
     Ahmed Mansoor received the longest sentence since he is charged with providing a platform for other to  make their criticisms. A coalition of sever human rights groups that includes Amnesty International has charged that the files were unfair. The groups maintain also that the activists should never have been charged in the first place.
   While the UAE has not seen large scale protests such as other Arab countries have had, activists have been campaigning for a more democratic system. The Federal National Council has no legislative power. The FNC is simply an advisory board to the Supreme Council consisting of the emirates rulers. But just to make sure that the FNC does not conflict with the Supreme Council half of the 40 seats are appointed by the emirate's rulers not elected.
    The UAE imports most of its labor and only 20 per cent of  residents are citizens! Many critics complain that  immigrants workers are not well treated. However, many are attracted by wages much higher than in their home countries. For more see this article. A video on the issue can be found here but I have also appended it.


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