In response to our sixth draft principle and whether violent intimidation has caused him to self-censor criticism of the government, Mansoor says: “The only limits that I put to myself are the ethical limits…I believe free speech is the prerequisite for any development to happen in any place and any country, and I’m driven totally by my passion and my love to this country”.
While in prison and since his release, Mansoor has been the target of online death threats, defamation campaigns and physical attacks. He says the government has done little to address these assaults.
Mansoor says his laptop was attacked by “a very sophisticated version of malware apparently that the authorities in the region have been using against individuals, which allows authorities to gain illegal access to someone’s emails and computer”.
Mansoor was sentenced to three years in prison but released after just seven months when the president pardoned him and the other four activists. He says media reports on their imprisonment “enlightened people about the reality of the case, because inside the UAE the campaign was really [a] smear [campaign]”.
One of the United Arab Emirate’s most prominent human rights activists, Ahmed Mansoor was imprisoned in 2011 for criticising the country’s leadership. Here he discusses the death threats, defamation campaigns and physical attacks he continues to face for speaking his mind.
The third episode of the On Free Speech podcast features exclusive interviews with filmmaker Nick Sturdee on the Russian art collective Voina and stand-up comedian Tom Greeves on the UK’s parody laws.