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UN: Ahmed Mansoor’s imprisonment conditions “may constitute torture”

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In a new scandal for the UAE regime, UN rights experts said a prominent pro-democracy activist detained in the UAE, Ahmed Mansour, may suffer torture, including prolonged solitary confinement.

Human rights experts expressed “deep concern” about Mansoor’s health and urged the UAE authorities to provide him with appropriate medical care and to ensure that his prison conditions meet minimum United Nations standards and allow either a retrial or his release.

“The poor conditions of his detention in the UAE, including prolonged solitary confinement, may constitute torture,” the experts said in a joint statement.

Mansoor was sentenced last year to 10 years for criticizing the UAE government on social media sites.

The Gulf Center for Human Rights, which he is still a member of its board of directors, said this week it had learned from one source that Mansoor had ended a hunger strike that he began on 17 March to protest his prison conditions and trial.

The center, based outside the UAE, said his family was not allowed to visit him regularly to check on his health or to know if he had ended his strike.

“Mansoor has allegedly been kept isolated in al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi with no bed or water in his cell and with no access to a shower. Although visits have been allowed, they are rarely offered,” the U.N. experts said.

The United Nations has already expressed concern about Mansoor’s arrest. Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet, was among five activists convicted of insulting the rulers of the UAE in 2011 but were pardoned in the same year.

The UAE authorities arrested Mansoor again in March 2017 from his home in the emirate of Ajman on charges of publishing false information and rumors, promoting a sectarian and hate-inciting agenda, and using social media to “harm national unity and social harmony and damage the country’s reputation.”

In May 2018 Mansour was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1 million dirhams ($ 270,000).

Recently, 13 regional and international human rights organizations in a joint statement called on the UAE to immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor and other human rights defenders held illegally.

Dozens demonstrated in front of the UAE Embassy in London, demanding the immediate release of Mansoor.

The United Nations and human rights organizations also criticized the UAE this week over the trial and imprisonment of Alia Abdel Nour, who died on Saturday in a prison for cancer.

The United Nations on Monday called on UAE authorities to investigate the circumstances of the state’s detainee, Alia Abdulnoor, 42, and “credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment.”

The UAE regime has tried to evade charges from rights groups that Alia has been denied proper medical care and regular contact with her relatives.

Alia was sentenced to ten years in prison after being convicted on charges of financing terrorist groups. Alia recovered from breast cancer but recurred after her arrest in 2015. Her family denies the charges against her and says she was collecting money for Syrian families.