Ahmed Mansoor’s open hunger strike in the jails of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), enters its second month amid international human rights criticism of Abu Dhabi for its human rights abuses.
Emirates Leaks learned from reliable sources that Mansoor’s health, who is on hunger strike in protest on his continued arbitrary detention, was severely deteriorated.
According to the sources, Mansoor suffers from a severe deterioration in his health and is forced to take painkillers around the clock to relieve his pain.
Sources said that Mansoor suffers from fatigue, breathing difficulty and inability to walk and he can’t sleep for long hours because of the pain of the tumor in the stomach and intestines.
Mansoor is on a hunger strike for the second month in protest against his sentence and the poor conditions in the UAE prisons and the serious violations of the most basic rights of detainees in the state.
According to available information, Mansoor is being held in Sadr City prison in Abu Dhabi and is held incommunicado in solitary confinement. In addition, prison conditions are very poor as Mansoor is in a cell that lacks a bed, water and access to the bathroom.
With this dire situation, Mansoor’s health, as he enters a hunger strike, has deteriorated, while there are fears that he will be abused more and deprived of medical care.
The UAE authorities arrested Mansoor on 20 March 2017. He was held for more than a year in an unknown location without any contact with a lawyer and received very limited family visits, and was sentenced on May 29, 2018.
On May 30, the UAE newspaper The National reported that a court sentenced Mansoor to 10 years in prison and a fine of one million dirhams (the US $ 272,000), three years under probation after the end of the sentence, and the confiscation of his electronic devices.
The court convicted Mansoor of insulting the prestige, status, and symbols of the state, including its leaders, and trying to destabilize the UAE’s relationship with neighboring countries by publishing false reports and information on social media.
In the weeks before his arrest, Mansoor criticized the UAE’s trials of people for crimes related to freedom of expression. He also used his Twitter account to draw attention to human rights abuses in the region, including Egypt and Yemen.
A few days ago, the International Federation for Rights and Development (FRID) warned of the serious deterioration in Mansoor’s health and demanded immediate international intervention for his release.
The Rome-based organization said in a press release it had received reports and statements about Mansoor’s deteriorating health after losing much of his weight and controlling fatigue, making him almost ineligible.
Mansoor, one of the leading human rights activists in the UAE and the Gulf region, is serving a 10-year sentence in May 2018 after a dubious trial for his peaceful demand for reform.
The organization referred Mansoor is the recipient of the Martin Ennals International Award 2015 and is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Advisory Committee at Human Rights Watch.
Mansoor’s associates have reported that he has been on hunger strike for about a month to demand his freedom and stop his arbitrary detention, which was due to his human rights activities and public views demanding freedom and reform in his country.
They also said that Mansoor protested his open hunger strike for his harsh prison conditions and the restrictions he was subjected to from the UAE authorities, including the ban on his visit and his isolation from the outside world.
The International Federation for Rights and Development (IFRED) expressed deep concern that Mansoor’s long hunger strike would lead to his health deteriorating and could threaten his life.
IFRED called on the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mansoor in accordance with its announcement to adopt the slogan of tolerance for this year.
To gain his freedom, IFRED has urged international intervention to ensure that Ahmed Mansoor’s detention conditions are improved in line with international standards, including access to his family and any health care he may require.
For its part, the International Human Rights Watch highlighted that the case of Ahmed Mansoor and the abuse and legal oppression exposed to the absence of any tolerance on the part of the UAE with any criticism of its rulers and policies.
On December 31, 2018, the Supreme Federal Court of the UAE, the country’s highest court to hear cases of state security, upheld the 10-year prison term for Ahmed Mansoor.
In May, a court in Abu Dhabi sentenced Mansoor to 10 years in prison for defaming the UAE on social media. The date of the appeal session, held on New Year’s Eve, raises concerns that the authorities intend to support Mansoor’s conviction at a time when the trial will not receive much media attention.
“The repeated legal persecution of Ahmed Mansoor simply for advocating basic rights exposes the UAE’s extreme intolerance of any criticism of its rulers and its policies,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “This devastating decision marks another nail in the coffin of any hope for justice in the UAE.”
Human Rights Watch said that Mansoor’s conviction and current sentence resulting from the exercise of his right to freedom of expression, his political views, and his status as a human being constitute an act of repression of the brutal state that violates Mansoor’s rights under international human rights law.
Sheikh Khalifa declared 2019 the Year of Tolerance to highlight the UAE as a global capital for tolerance and consolidate the values of coexistence and peace in local, regional and international communities.
“For the UAE to declare 2019 as the year of tolerance while ending this year with such a ruthless act of injustice reveals a deeply hypocritical stance on human rights,” Page said.