Renewed calls for release of imprisoned human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor
Amnesty international has renewed its call for United Arabs Emirates to release Ahmed Mansoor, an award-winning human rights defender who is facing charges that violate his right to freedom of expression.
A year ago, Ahmed Mansoor’s iPhone was targeted using elite spyware only sold to governments. This was an attempt to turn it into a tracking device, to find out who his contacts are and where he was going. Ahmed is an award winning human rights defender and blogger – and this attack was designed to spy on him and his fellow activists.
This incident prompted Apple to issue a security update to the iPhone in August 2016. Ahmed had already been a victim of previous hacking attempts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government: this was the third time that spyware was used against Ahmed and it was by far the most sophisticated and costly attempt to intercept his communications. As a result, Ahmed has become known as “the million dollar dissident”.
In March this year, security officials entered his home and searched it. They confiscated his phones and other electronic devices, and after three hours of searching the property, they took Ahmed away. On 3 April, he was taken, with his hands and feet shackled and head shaved, to a prosecutor’s office for one short supervised family visit. Since then, he has not been allowed calls with his family.
Right now, Ahmed is being held in solitary confinement and has not had access to a lawyer.
The authorities issued a statement saying he had been arrested for using his social media accounts to “publish false information that damages the country’s reputation” and to “spread hatred and sectarianism”.
Act now and demand that the UAE authorities release Ahmed Mansoor immediately and unconditionally. Sign the petition and it will be handed in to the UAE government to pressure them to free Mansoor now.