Time for UAE to Release Ahmed Mansoor, HRW
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has renewed its call for the immediate and unconditional release of the leading Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor.
In a recent statement, Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Joe Stork said that the UAE’s persecution of Ahmed Mansoor for his “thought crimes” has been cruel and even gratuitous. Ahmed Mansoor has been confined in complete isolation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since his arrest in March 2017. He is not allowed to leave his cell, not even for meals, and is deprived of books, a mattress and access to fresh air and sufficient sunlight, leaving him in precarious mental and physical health.
HRW's latest plea to release Mr Mansoor comes after Bahrain, earlier this month, finally allowed prominent activist Nabeel Rajab to serve the remainder of his prison sentence at home with his family.
Ahmed Mansoor meanwhile remains behind bars in dismal conditions. In May 2018, an Abu Dhabi court sentenced him to ten years in prison for “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols, including its leaders” and “publishing false reports and information on social media.”
"We don’t know what alleged “insults” and “false reports” could warrant a decade behind bars", Stork said, and added that Ahmed merely used social media "to call attention to miscarriages of justice in the UAE". "He shared information with rights organisations abroad about unfair trials that had already put other Emirati rights activists and defence lawyers in prison."
Mansoor's own trial proceedings happened in secrecy, behind closed doors and neither his charge sheet nor the verdict has been made public.
"It’s a testament to its smooth diplomacy and public relations money that the UAE has long avoided criticism of its appalling human rights record from allies like the United States, United Kingdom, and France", Stork concluded.