Al-Mansouri, a 52-year-old Internet writer, was arrested in the city of Tobruk in apparent reprisal for Internet writings that were critical of the Libyan government.
The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, which visited al-Mansouri in Abu Selim prison in May, reported that al-Mansouri wrote about 50 articles on the United Kingdom-based Web site Akhbar-Libya. Human Rights Watch said Libyan security agents questioned al-Mansouri about his writings and confiscated his computer, papers, and computer disks. A brother said security agents told him that al-Mansouri had confessed to “writing articles online that criticized the state of Libya.”
Libyan security officials maintained that al-Mansouri was arrested for having a gun without a license. On October 19, a court sentenced al-Mansouri to one and a half years in prison on the weapons charge. After the sentence was passed, al-Mansouri’s family wrote to the government to protest the verdict and to state its belief that the sentence was a result of his Internet writings, according to Human Rights Watch.