Middle East

UAE rights activist detained for social media criticism

A leading human rights advocate in the United Arab Emirates has been detained and is being investigated for cybercrimes that include criticizing the government on social media sites.

The state-run WAM news agency reported on Tuesday that the Public Prosecution for Cybercrimes office had ordered Ahmad Mansoor's arrest.

The Dubai-based Gulf News reports he is accused of defaming the UAE on Twitter and Facebook, publishing false information about the country to damage its reputation abroad and promoting sectarianism.

Mansoor was detained after a raid on his home in the emirate of Ajman on Monday. He received the prestigious Martin Ennals Award last year for bringing attention to arbitrary arrests, concerns of torture and issues around the independence of the judiciary in the UAE. Rights groups are calling for his release.