British MPs urge UK Foreign Office to secure safety of Ahmed Mansoor
A cross-party group of British Parliamentarians has urged the UK Foreign Office to intervene to secure the safety of three prominent Gulf human rights activists, including the Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor.
The MPs raised concerns over Ahmed Mansoor’s case as he continues to be held in permanent solitary confinement in a 4-square-meter cell without a mattress in al-Sadr prison, Abu Dhabi. His physical and mental health are consequently in a dire state, which has been further exacerbated by two consecutive hunger strikes in protest against his inhumane detention conditions, torture and ill-treatment at the hands of prison wardens.
Caroline Lucas, one of the MPs calling for a Foreign Office intervention has said that “[b]y refusing to speak out about the ongoing abuse of these brave individuals, the government is once again putting its pursuit of preferential trade deals ahead of human rights. Its vision of a ‘Global Britain’ is looking like one where moral values are tossed aside in the name of political expediency.”
Concerns over prisoners’ well-being intensified in light of recent reports of coronavirus outbreaks in at least three Emirati jails. According to the International Center for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) the UAE prison authorities have lost control over the spread of the virus in detention facilities after failing to implement necessary precautionary measures as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Currently serving a 10-year sentence on charges of “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols,” Mansoor is considered to be at grave risk amid the Covid-19 outbreak as his underlying health conditions leave him particularly vulnerable.
ICFUAE has launched a campaign urging the Emirati authorities to release all prisoners of conscience and, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, conditionally release those detainees who suffer underlying health conditions or terminal illnesses.