Family of jailed UAE blogger fear smear campaign

AP , Tuesday 8 Nov 2011

The family of a jailed blogger on trial for advocating political change in the United Arab Emirates says he is a victim of an organized smear campaign which has called for his execution.

Ahmed Mansour is charged of insulting the UAE rulers and endangering national security. He and four others were arrested in April after they signed an internet petition calling for reform in the oil-rich Gulf federation.

Mansour's trial has become emblematic of the crackdown on dissidents launched by the UAE in the wake of uprisings across the Arab world.

Regime supporters regularly rally outside sessions of Mansour's trial, calling him a traitor and demanding the death penalty.

In a Tuesday statement, the family said they feared the campaign's "impact on... the course of justice." A verdict in the trial is expected Nov. 27.

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