UAE: Free prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, now on hunger strike

Protection 6 min read
ARTICLE 19
UAE: Free prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, now on hunger strike - Protection

Please join us and take action this week to help save the life of imprisoned human rights defender and blogger Ahmed Mansoor, who has been on hunger strike for a month in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He started the hunger strike to protest poor prison conditions and his unfair trial which led to a ten-year prison sentence for his human rights activities. Help spread his message by taking action now!

Mansoor is being kept in an isolation ward in Al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi, where he is being held in “terrible conditions” in a cell with no bed, no water and no access to a shower. His health has deteriorated significantly, and he is in bad shape, moving slowly when he is allowed out of his cell. He is not allowed to have regular family visits, another reason he started his hunger strike in mid-March.

Two years ago, on 20 March 2017, Mansoor was arrested in the middle of the night at his home where he lives with his wife and four young sons. Mansoor, the 2015 Martin Ennals Laureate, and a member of the advisory boards of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, was the last human rights defender openly working in the UAE.

Mansoor was convicted on 29 May 2018 of “insulting the ‘status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols’ including its leaders” and of “seeking to damage the relationship of the UAE with its neighbours by publishing false reports and information on social media.” He was sentenced by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court to ten years’ imprisonment, followed by three years of surveillance and a fine of 1,000,000 Emirati Dirhams (around USD $270,000).

This sentence was upheld on 31 December 2018 by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court. Mansoor’s trial was widely viewed as grossly unfair and lacked the minimum international standards of fair trial and due process. The European Parliament, United Nations Special Rapporteurs, and human rights organisations have all called for his immediate and unconditional release.

We are concerned about the health and well-being of Ahmed Mansoor, and other detained human rights defenders, who have experienced poor treatment and torture in prison, contrary to both the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules), and to the UAE’s own international human rights obligations. We call on the UAE to immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor, and other unlawfully detained human rights defenders.

Join us

Join the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), ARTICLE 19, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), CIVICUS, English PEN, FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Front Line Defenders (FLD), the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), IFEX, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Martin Ennals Foundation, and PEN International.

Visit a Facebook page set up by Ahmed Mansoor’s friends and post messages and photos of support, and tweet to Ahmed Mansoor’s account at @Ahmed_Mansoor using the hashtag #FreeAhmed and copy in relevant authorities and governments listed below, including the Vice-President and Prime Minister @HHShkMohd. Feel free to use the image in this appeal.

Please take action by writing, faxing, tweeting and posting on Facebook:

Call on the UAE authorities to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor and other human rights defenders who are imprisoned solely for their peaceful human rights activities;
  2. Pending release, ensure that Ahmed Mansoor, and other prisoners of conscience are treated in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including being provided with proper medical care, sanitary prison conditions and regular family visits; and
  3. Allow UN experts or international NGOs access to visit Ahmed Mansoor, as well as other human rights defenders detained in Emirati prisons.

Contact info:

UAE:
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister

Prime Minister’s Office

PO Box 212000 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Fax: + 97144404433

Letters can be sent via web: https://uaecabinet.ae/en/contact-the-prime-minister (upload a pdf of the letter where it asks for ID)

Twitter: @HHShkMohd

 

European Parliament:
@EP_HumanRights

European Parliament (@Europarl_EN)

@AntonioPanzeri

@MarietjeSchaake 

United Nations:

UN Human Rights MENA @OHCHR_MENA

@ForstMichel

 

Foreign Offices:
Canada @CanadaFP

France @francediplo

UK @FCOHumanRights

US @StateDept

Netherlands @DutchMFA

Germany @GermanyDiplo

Switzerland @SwissMFA

Irish Foreign Ministry @dfatirl

 

Embassies in the UAE:

Douwe Buzeman, Deputy head of mission for Netherlands to UAE @Douwebuzeman
Irish Embassy in UAE @IrelandEmbUAE

German Embassy Abu Dhabi @GermanEmbUAE  

US Mission to UAE @USAinUAE

British Embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai @ukinuae

Swiss Embassy @SwissEmbassyUAE

French Embassy @FranceEmirates

Canadian Embassy @CanadainUAE

European Union Delegation to the UAE @EUintheUAE