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Increasing international demands for freedom of Ahmed Mansoor

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International calls for the release of a prisoner of conscience in the UAE are mounting, and human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor has become an icon against the injustice of the ruling regime in Abu Dhabi and his abuses of demand for reform and freedoms.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin called on the UAE to release Mansoor. He said on Twitter that Mansoor, who had been “unfairly detained,” spent days before his second birthday in detention rather than with his loved ones.

He said he had sent a letter to the UAE ambassador to Washington earlier this year expressing concern for Mansoor’s safety and urging Abu Dhabi to release him.

Earlier, more than 130 organizations – in an open letter – called on the UAE government to release human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor “immediately and unconditionally”.

They believed that the life of the UAE activist was in danger “after being beaten and on hunger strike in protest at the dire and inhuman conditions of the prison.”

The open letter accuses the UAE authorities of condemning Mansour and imprisoning him “solely for his peaceful work in the field of human rights and the exercise of his right to freedom of expression, which is constitutionally guaranteed.”

The organizations said it was a tragedy and stigma in the UAE forcing Mansour to reach the age of 50 alone in a cell in such dire conditions, simply for exercising his fundamental right to freedom of expression and speaking out against human rights violations.

The UAE recently announced several projects to promote pluralism and tolerance at home and abroad, and 2019 has been declared a ‘Year of Tolerance’.

Signatories include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Article 19 for Freedom of Expression, the UAE-based Association of Victims of Torture in Switzerland, the American Association of University Professors, India-based Angels in the Field, and the Access Center for Human Rights and the Center for Civil Liberties based in Ukraine.

Mansoor was arrested on March 20, 2017 after authorities accused him of serving an agenda that spread hatred and sectarianism, and working to destabilize by promoting false and misleading information.

The UAE authorities have placed Mansoor under electronic surveillance since 2011, after he was arrested for calling for reform in the midst of the Arab Spring.

On Tuesday, the 50th anniversary of the birth of Mansoor, who became an icon against the injustice of the UAE regime and its imposed repressive approach based on exclusion and crushing opponents.

Ahmed Mansoor called for freedom and reform in the UAE. His fate was arbitrary detention in Abu Dhabi prisons and he was subjected to various methods of psychological and physical torture and isolation from the outside world.

Mansour was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in May 2018 after a closed trial for insulting “the prestige, status, and symbols of the state”, including its leaders, for his peaceful calls for reform.

On December 31, 2018, the Federal Supreme Court, the country’s last resort court for state security cases, upheld the ruling, canceling all his chances of early release.

The UAE authorities have placed Mansoor under electronic surveillance since 2011, after he was arrested on the back of his call for reform in the country amid the wave of the Arab Spring.

Mansoor was crowned in 2015 with the prestigious Swiss Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders in recognition of his human rights activities in his country.

The awarding body described Ahmed Mansoor as one of the few voices in the UAE to assess the independence and credibility of the human rights situation in his country.