United Arab Emirates: Ahmed Mansoor remains on hunger strike in poor conditions as eyesight deteriorates
Imprisoned human rights defender and blogger Ahmed Mansoor has been on hunger strike since 17 March 2019 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and is in very poor condition. He started the hunger strike to protest poor prison conditions and his unfair trial which led to a ten-year prison sentence for his human rights activities. We call on the UAE to immediately and unconditionally release Mansoor, and other unlawfully detained human rights defenders.
According to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)’s sources, Mansoor remains on hunger strike but his family has not yet been able to see him. Visits are not banned, but are not offered regularly. Mansoor’s mother has not been permitted to visit him in prison, and her own health is poor. GCHR has confirmed that Mansoor is kept in isolation in Al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi. Family visits are normally held at Al-Wathba prison nearby, hence the confusion over his location since his arrest on 20 March 2017.
In addition, GCHR has been informed that Mansoor’s eyesight has deteriorated and he has been provided with special glasses. GCHR received news in early April that Mansoor was being kept in a cell with no bed and no water, and that he was held in “terrible conditions”, according to a confidential source. He was moving slowly and very weak.
Mansoor, the 2015 Martin Ennals Laureate, and a member of the advisory boards of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, was the last human rights defender openly working in the UAE. On 29 May 2018, he was sentenced by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court to ten years’ imprisonment, followed by three years of surveillance and a fine of 1,000,000 Emirati Dirhams (around USD $270,000). This sentence was upheld on 31 December 2018 by the Federal Supreme Court in UAE.
Join GCHR and partners the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), ARTICLE 19, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), CIVICUS, English PEN, FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Front Line Defenders (FLD), IFEX, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Martin Ennals Foundation, PEN International and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Visit a Facebook page set up by Ahmed Mansoor’s friends and post messages and photos of support, and tweet to Ahmed Mansoor’s account at @Ahmed_Mansoor using the hashtag #FreeAhmed and copy in relevant authorities and governments listed below, including the Vice-President and Prime Minister @HHShkMohd. Feel free to use the image in this appeal.
Please take action by writing, faxing, tweeting and posting on Facebook:
Call on the UAE authorities to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor and other human rights defenders who are imprisoned solely for their peaceful human rights activities;
- Pending release, ensure that Ahmed Mansoor, and other prisoners of conscience are treated in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including being provided with proper medical care, sanitary prison conditions and regular family visits; and
- Allow UN experts or international NGOs access to visit Ahmed Mansoor, as well as other human rights defenders detained in Emirati prisons.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Office
PO Box 212000 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Fax: + 97144404433
Letters can be sent via web: https://uaecabinet.ae/en/contact-the-prime-minister (upload a pdf of the letter where it asks for ID)
Irish Foreign Ministry @dfatirl
Embassies in the UAE:
German Embassy Abu Dhabi @GermanEmbUAE
US Mission to UAE @USAinUAE
British Embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai @ukinuae
Swiss Embassy @SwissEmbassyUAE
French Embassy @FranceEmirates
Canadian Embassy @CanadainUAE
European Union Delegation to the UAE @EUintheUAE