Emi­rati rights ac­tivist given ‘No­bel prize for hu­man rights’

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

An Emi­rati hu­man rights ac­tivist barred from leav­ing his home coun­try was on Tues­day named the 2015 win­ner of an award of­ten dubbed the No­bel prize for hu­man rights.

Ahmed Man­soor has since 2006 cam­paigned for free­dom of ex­pres­sion and greater po­lit­i­cal and civil rights in the United Arab Emi­rates, and suc­cess­fully pushed for the lib­er­a­tion of two blog­gers jailed for high­light­ing so­cial prob­lems in the coun­try.

On Tues­day, he was awarded t he Martin En­nals award, named af­ter the for­mer sec­re­tary gen­eral of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional. The prize is given to hu­man rights de­fend­ers who show deep com­mit­ment to their cause de­spite huge per­sonal risk.

“Ahmed Man­soor is one of the few voices within the United Arab Emi­rates who pro­vides a cred­i­ble in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment of hu­man rights de­vel­op­ments in the coun­try,” the Martin En­nals Foun­da­tion said on its web­site.

Man­soor was sen­tenced to three years in prison in 2011 in a trial crit­i­cized by rights groups as “grossly un­fair.” At the time, he stood ac­cused, along with four oth­ers, of us­ing the In­ter­net to in­sult the UAE’s lead­ers, of call­ing for a boy­cott of elec­tions and of be­ing linked to antigov­ern­ment demon­stra­tions.

He was par­doned by the UAE’s pres­i­dent later the same year, but was stripped of his pass­port and barred from over­seas travel.

The Martin En­nals award was cre­ated in 1993, two years af­ter En­nals died.

Its jury is com­posed of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, Hu­man Rights Watch, the In­ter­na­tional Com­mis­sion of Ju­rists and seven other in­ter­na­tional cam­paign or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The win­ner r eceives a prize of 20,000 Swiss francs (US$20,700).

The de­but re­cip­i­ent in 1994 was Chi­nese rights ac­tivist and for­mer po­lit­i­cal pris­oner Harry Wu, who moved to the United States in the mid-1980s.

The award can also go to a group.

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