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Leading human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor ‘tortured’ in UAE prison, claims former Emirati government official

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Leading human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor ‘tortured’ in UAE prison, claims former Emirati government official

Ahmed Mansoor - who was recently brought to trial in the UAE after being held for over a year without charge in an unknown location - has been subjected to torture by Emirati authorities, a former UAE government official has claimed.

In an interview last week with the UK-based Al-Hiwar satellite channel, Jaseem al-Shasimi said that he had spoken to former detainees in the UAE who confirmed that Mansoor had been tortured by security officials.

During the interview, al-Shasimi went on to explain how this kind of treatment has become the norm for political prisoners in the UAE, who are often held for months without charge and routinely denied access to proper legal counsel.

There have been many examples of this in recent years. For instance, prior to being sentenced to 10 years in prison for Tweets which criticised the human rights record of the Egyptian authorities (a key ally of the UAE), Dr Nasser bin Ghaith was held without charge for over a year – a period in which he claims he was tortured.

Ahmed Mansoor has been held in an unknown location since his arrest in March of last year after UAE authorities accused him of using his social media accounts to publish "false information" and "spread hatred and sectarianism". Amnesty International have since said that he has been held in solitary confinement and has only received two short, supervised family visits since his imprisonment.

In a joint statement issued a few weeks ago, dozens of NGOs - including Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders - urged Emirati authorities to reveal Mansoor’s whereabouts, stating that his unverified location places him at real risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of security officials. 

The Emirati authorities regularly resort to practices of torture when interrogating government critics and dissident voices. Since the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011, dozens of human rights activists and former detainees have accused the UAE authorities of such practices - many have gone on to raise their case at a UN level.

It is with bitter irony, however, that Ahmed Mansoor, who for years has tirelessly campaigned against human rights abuses in the country, now finds himself subjected to the worst excess of the Emirati security state. It is now more urgent than ever that international pressure is exerted on the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the award-winning rights defender.          

 

ENDS 

  1. For more information, please contact the ICFUAE team at joe@icfuae.org.uk or 07979 6666 98
  2. For more information on the story, please see http://emasc-uae.com/news/view/11526
  3. For more on Ahmed Mansoor’s case, please see https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/uae-rights-activist-ahmed-mansoor-put-trial-abu-dhabi-180418061044342.html
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