NGOs and Prominent Figures call for the Release of Human Rights Activist Ahmed Mansoor

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Geneva, on January 18, 2019

On January 14, 2019, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) and other human rights NGOs and prominent figures called for the release of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor in an open letter launched by ICFUAE.

Ahmed Mansoor was arrested on March 20, 2017 and held in secrete detention. His arrest caused a stir among the human rights organisations and even within the UN. In fact, Ahmed Mansoor was one of the few activists to provide NGOs and UN experts with valuable information regarding the human rights situation in the UAE. After the intervention of UN experts, the authorities disclosed his location but he remained detained in very poor condition with very limited contact with the outside world.

In May 2018, after more than one year of pretrial detention in poor condition, Ahmed Mansoor was sentenced to ten years in prison for his postings on social medias denouncing the human rights violations in the UAE. He appealed the sentence before the Federal Supreme Court which confirmed the ten-year sentence on December 31, 2018, ahead of 2019, which was proclaimed year of tolerance by Sheikh Khalifa.

The Centre thus co-signed the following open letter to draw the attention of the international community to Ahmed Mansoor’s case and call on the UAE government to immediately release him and put an end to all violations against him. The UAE government should be strongly reminded of its obligations to protect all its citizens and grant them equal exercise of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

The text of the open letter:

We, the undersigned, call on the government of the United Arab Emirates to immediately and unconditionally release prisoner of conscience Ahmed Mansoor.

Mr Mansoor is an internationally acclaimed human rights campaigner, the 2015 winner of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and a member of both the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. In May 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “defaming” the UAE on social media. An appeal to overturn this sentence was rejected on 31 December 2018. Mr Mansoor’s arrest and the charges against him relate solely to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

Mr Mansoor was detained without charge for over a year before trial and denied the right to appoint an independent lawyer. Sources close to him confirmed that he was held in solitary confinement for at least the first six months of his detention, a treatment human rights experts consider to be cruel and inhumane.

The EU parliament and multiple human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have repeatedly called for Mr Mansoor’s release and UN human rights experts have described his case as “a direct attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE”.

As a member of the UN human rights council, the UAE has an obligation to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens. We call on the UAE government to uphold this obligation with respect to Mr Mansoor by ensuring his immediate and unconditional release.

  1. Stephen Fry, Actor and presenter
  2. Noam Chomsky, Professor
  3. Michael Mansfield, QC Barrister
  4. Peter Tatchell, Human rights campaigner
  5. Caroline Lucas MP Green, Brighton Pavilion
  6. Ben Bradshaw MP Labour, Exeter
  7. Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP Labour, Brighton Kemptown
  8. Andy Slaughter MP Labour, Hammersmith
  9. Martyn Day MP SNP, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
  10. Tom Brake MP Liberal Democrat, Carshalton and Wallington
  11. Christine Jardine ,MP Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West
  12. Joe Odell, The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE
  13. Carles Torner, PEN International
  14. Gus Hosein, Privacy International
  15. Julia Legner, MENA Rights Group
  16. Radha Stirling, Detained in Dubai
  17. Rachid Mesli Al Karama,
  18. Safwa Aissa, International Campaign for Justice and Human Rights
  19. Jonathan Emmett, Children’s author
  20. James Mayhew, Author and illustrator
  21. Nicola Davies, Author
  22. Amanda Craig, Author and critic
  23. Laurence Anholt, Author
  24. Anne Booth, Author
  25. Dylan Calder Director, Pop-up Projects
  26. Fadi Al-Qadi Human rights, civil society, advocacy and media expert

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This post is also available in: arالعربية (Arabic)

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