The International Centre for Justice and Human Rights said that this day marks the fifth birthday that prominent human rights defender Mansour spends behind bars.
The Centre said that since his brief arrest in 2011, Ahmed Mansoor has been working for the advocacy of rights and freedoms by standing up for the victims of human rights violations. He has been systematically targeted by the UAE’s repressive policies ever since. The activist has documented massive political arrests and trials – including the well-known case of the “UAE 94” – and has constantly denounced the campaign of repression aiming at muzzling free speech in the country and threatening fundamental freedoms. Indeed, he is one of the few human rights defenders in the country to be cooperating with the United Nations Special Procedures and human rights NGOs.
Ahmed Mansoor was arrested on March 20, 2017, at 3 am by the State Security forces during a night raid at his home in Ajman. After the State Security officers searched his house and seized all electronic devices, they took Ahmed to an unknown location. He was held incommunicado until March 29, 2017, when Emirati authorities finally disclosed his place, after UN experts condemned the “attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE” and urged the UAE to immediately release him.
He was prosecuted for his postings on social media – in which he denounced the arbitrary detention of other activists – and charged with “publishing false information and rumors” aiming at promoting “sectarianism and hatred”, “harming national unity and social harmony and damaging the country’s reputation.” Ahmed Mansoor was deprived of all fair trial guarantees and sentenced on 29 May 2018 by the Federal Appeal Chamber of the Abu Dhabi Court to 10 years imprisonment and a 1 million dirham fine on the basis of the 2012 Federal Law on cyber-crimes. He has appealed the sentence before the Supreme Court and is currently waiting for the final judgment.
On his birthday, Mansoor’s rights remain violated, and continues to face injustice. He should not endure another birthday in prison.
Five years have passed and the UAE authorities refuse to change their position on human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and insist on his detention on the basis of his activities on social media and his defense of human rights and freedom of expression. Indeed, he has already been subject to some violations including tracking on his mobile phone, which is against the right to privacy, and a travel ban for his human rights activism as well as imprisonment within the well-known case of the “UAE 5” on charges of offending the state governors back in 2011.
Mansoor continues to be targeted and harassed in prison. In fact, he is deprived of his most fundamental human rights and denied the right to access the money sent by his family to buy what he needs in prison. He is not allowed to exercise, walk in the open air, or even have a bed. Inside his cell, Mansoor still sleeps on the floor.
The ICJHR remains very concerned about the continuous harassment and abuse of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and therefore urges the UAE authorities to:
- Immediately and unconditionally, release human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and conduct a prompt investigation by an independent body into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment inside the prison, hold accountable those found responsible, bring them to justice, and give Ahmed Mansoor the right to proper remedy and rehabilitation.
- Stop violating the rights of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and other prisoners of conscience and comply with Federal Law No. 43 of 1992 on Regulating Penal Institutions and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
- Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, and other International Human Rights Organizations to visit Ahmed Mansoor and other prisoners of conscience, in order to inspect the living conditions in UAE detention facilities to assess the authorities’ compliance to relevant with international standards.