UAE: Demand for the release of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor as his health deteriorates


GENEVA – The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) expresses its concern about the safety of Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, following the deterioration of his health after more than three years in solitary confinement without basic necessities.

Human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor (51 years), a member of the advisory board of both  “Human Rights Watch” and “the Gulf Center for Human Rights”.UAE security forces arrested Mansoor on March 20, 2017. For more than a year, he had no access to a lawyer and only very limited visits with family.

Mansoor is kept in a small isolation cell, without any basic needs after authorities took away, between December 2017 and March 2018, his mattress and denied him adequate warm clothing and access to hot water, leaving him exposed to the fourth winter in his cell.
Mansoor suffers from hypertension since 2018 and has not been given medication to treat it, putting him at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
In 2019, Mansoor went on two hunger strikes to demand basic prisoner rights, including an end to solitary confinement and access to necessities. His second hunger strike, which lasted for around 45 days and during which Mansoor lost 11 kilograms, raised fears for his health and prompted global calls for his immediate and unconditional release to which the UAE turned a deaf ear.

Mansoor was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May 2018, following a closed trial, for insulting the “status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols,” including its leaders, based on his peaceful calls for reform. On December 31, 2018, the Federal Supreme Court, the country’s court of last resort in state security cases, upheld his sentence, quashing his final chance at early release.
Human rights defender Mansoor’s detention in solitary confinement, and his denial of medical care, constitutes an additional punishment, which is a crime of torture criminalized by international treaties.

The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties calls for an urgent international intervention to save the human rights detainee Ahmed Mansoor, for his release, and immediate medical treatment. Pending his release, GCRL calls for his transfer to appropriate facilities that meet the necessary needs in accordance with international standards for conditions of arrest and detention.

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