1,000 days behind bars: Ahmed Mansoor must be freed
Today marks Ahmed Mansoor’s 1000th day of unjust imprisonment in the United Arab Emirates. Arrested on 20 March 2017, he was given a 10-year prison sentence for his legitimate and peaceful human rights activism.
Ahmed Mansoor is one of the worlds most prominent human rights defenders. Over the years he has worked extensively with international rights organisations to raise awareness around human rights abuses within the UAE. In this capacity, he is a member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and has a seat on the advisory committee at Human Rights Watch. His achievements within his field were internationally recognised in 2015, when he won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
Mansoor, who, prior to his arrest, was known as the last person daring to speak out against repression in the UAE, was eventually silenced in March 2017 when he was arrested by Emirati security forces in the middle of the night at his home in Ajman. In May 2018, after spending over a year in incommunicado detention, he was sentenced to ten years in prison and received a fine of 1,000,000 UAE Dirhams (US$272,000) for publishing a series of Tweets that were deemed to “damage the status and prestige of the UAE.”
In September Mansoor embarked on his second hunger strike this year after receiving severe beatings by prison warders in reprisal over his complaints against his abysmal prison conditions and ongoing unjust detention. He is reported to be held in prolonged solitary confinement, in a cell with no bed and no running water. His health is rapidly declining and his life appears to be in serious jeopardy.
“On his 1000th day in prison, our heart goes out to Ahmed Mansoor and his family. He has committed no crime, and shouldn’t have to spend another day behind bars, and much less in such appalling conditions, which violate his most fundamental rights.
This day is a sad reminder that the UAE authorities silence anyone who criticizes their human rights record or advocates democratic reforms. Ahmed Mansoor was commonly known as the last person speaking out against the Emirati regime; For a thousand days now, Emiratis who have fallen victim to the regime’s iron hand have lacked someone who stands up for them in the fight for justice. ”