Ahmed Mansoor nominated as Defender of Human Rights & Freedom of Expression for March 2017
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Maharat Foundation, and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), in cooperation with IFEX, nominated prominent human rights defender and Blogger Ahmed Mansoor from the United Arab Emirates as the Defender of Human Rights & Freedom of Expression for the month of March 2017 as part of the campaign entitled “Supporting Human Rights Defenders and Freedom of Expression.”
Ahmed Mansoor is an Emirati blogger and prominent human rights defender. He is one of the very few independent voices to whom international NGOs can turn for an independent assessment of human rights developments in the UAE. His safety, well-being, and fair treatment by the authorities is of paramount importance for the international human rights movement. He is a member of the Advisory Board of GCHR and the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division.
Mansoor is the laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2015. He spent much of 2011 jailed for online dissent in a case collectively known as the UAE5, and was pardoned in November 2011. Since his release he has not remained silent, despite the huge price he has had to pay - no passport, no freedom of movement, no job, and constant fear of re-arrest.
Mansoor has led advocacy initiatives since 2006 on freedom of expression, civil and political rights. He’s a leading voice for freedom, despite great personal risk. Without avenues for legal protest, Mansoor was one of the initiators of the 03 March 2011 petition on online discussion forum, UAE Hewar, calling for democratic reform of UAE’s Parliament. He and four others were subsequently jailed for publicly insulting the UAE leadership in the UAE5 case that is mentioned above.
Mansoor was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in November 2011 but all five men received a presidential pardon and were released, although their convictions remain on their records.