Protests for Ahmed Mansoor's Arrest Reach Football Fans in Wembley
Yesterday at the Emirates FA Cup semi-final, both Arsenal and Man City football clubs entered the spotlight for their oppressive sponsor as ICFUAE supporters drew attention to the UAE's human rights abuses.
The ICFUAE held an action to raise awareness about the human rights situation in the UAE amongst fans of the two British clubs. Arsenal has become famous for its rich sponsor, Emirates, which is an airline company fully owned by the UAE government. Man City is also owned by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister of the UAE and owner of the City Football Group, which includes Manchester City F.C:, Melbourne City F.C., and New York City F.C. Both clubs have been criticised for their sponsorships but have failed to comment on the ethical and human rights implications of their choices.
This month, the Think Twice Campaign has launched #KickOutEmirates, a new campaign that hopes to "encourage ethical members of the English football community to challenge [the Emirates] acceptance and raise awareness of the human rights abuses carried out by Emirates and their owners".
During the action, ICFUAE spoke to fans about the latest wave of arbitrary arrests that saw prominent figures like human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor and economist Nasser bin Ghait arrested or sentenced for simply voicing their opinions.
Ahmed Mansoor was arrested in Dubai by the UAE authorities in the early hours of 20th March 2017. Ahmed is the winner of the 2015 Laureate Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and member of the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch. Now being kept in solitary confinement, Ahmed Mansoor is denied access to his family and to any legal assistance and remains at high risk of torture.
The Press Officer at the ICFUAE said: “This detention demonstrates the repression that lies at the heart of the UAE state where any public criticism of the authorities is regularly quashed in the most draconian manner.”
The ICFUAE encourages members of the public to take part in the discussions and take action to ask the UAE government to release Ahmed Mansoor and other prisoners of conscience.