Bloggers pardoned for insults
Wife tells of 'joyous moment' as UAEâPresident releases convicted activists
Five bloggers who were sent to prison for insulting the UAE's Rulers and posing a threat to state security have been pardoned by the country's president, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The wife of one of the activists told 7DAYS her family were overwhelmed when they were told the men would walk free from jail just a day after being convicted.
The UAE Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi sentenced Emirati Ahmed Al Mansour Ali Abdullah Al Shehi to three years in jail on Sunday and the other four men, three Emiratis and one stateless, to two years behind bars. "I feel so happy. Thanks to God. Our children and relatives are all excited by the good news," Wedad Al Muhairi, the wife of blogger Nasser Ahmed Khalfan bin Gaith told 7DAYS.
"It is such a joyous moment. Thanks to Sheikh Khalifa. The family is going to reunite again. We have been missing him so much," she said, adding that the family expected the men to walk free from prison last night.
"We shall enjoy joyous national day celebrations. Many people will visit to share in our happiness," she added. Mohammed Al Roken, the bloggers' lawyer said he received confirmation from public prosecution at around 2pm yesterday that the president had pardoned the five men.
"I have been informed by the public prosecution that the president has pardoned all the men. Hopefully all of them will be out of jail by tonight," Al Roken told 7DAYS yesterday. The bloggers had been convicted of charges of insulting the President of the UAE, the Vice President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, breaking laws and refraining from the Federal National Council elections, inciting demonstrations and perpetrating acts that pose a threat to state security, through comments they posted online.
UAE national news agency WAM reported the five were released by Sheikh Khalifa on the occasion of the UAE's 40th anniversary. The five men have been behind bars since their arrests in April.
The supreme court ordered that the website where the men made the comments - uaehewar.net - be closed down permanently.