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Friends in Prison: A Testimony Sheds Light on Ahmed Mansoor

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9 months 1 week

Friends in Prison: A Testimony Sheds Light on Ahmed Mansoor

A testimony by a former prisoner at al-Sadr prison sheds light on Ahmed Mansoor's living conditions in an isolation cell with no mattress. 

The prisoner, Artur Ligeska, a Polish citizen who has since been freed and left the country, has provided additional details of Mansoor’s detention conditions. He told the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) that prisoners are expected to keep their own cells clean despite having no access to running water or cleaning supplies. While there are showers installed in the cells, they do not work due to a problem with the water system.

The former prisoner described the conditions in the isolation ward, where Mansoor is being held. He said many of the prisoners, some of whom have been there 20 years, do not receive medical care.

The cells measure 2 x 2 meters with a small window that only allows around three hours of sunlight a day. With the walls running up to 11 metres high, prisoners have to shout to hear one another from cell to cell. The lights are very abrasive so detainees request them to be kept off most of the time.

Artur Ligeska says that most of the people in the isolation ward are allowed to go to the canteen, except Mansoor, who receives his canteen items in his cell. 

After his hunger strike garnered publicity in Aüril, Mansoor was allowed to go outside to the sports yard for the first time. Normally, prisoners in the isolation ward are not permitted outside, but the former prisoner said Mansoor was allowed out around five times after some Embassies and European Union representatives took up his case. However, prisoners from the isolation ward are still not allowed to mix with the general population when they go outside.

Artur arrived in Al-Sadr at the end of January 2018 when Ahmed was there already. The men were kept two cells away from each other but nevertheless managed to become friends. While the former prisoner did not witness any acts of torture perpetrated against Mansoor, he said he had been psychologically tortured due to his “medieval” detention conditions. He added that Mansoor had been sleeping on the floor since his detention in Al-Sadr. 

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