United Arab Emirates: Ahmed Mansoor remains on hunger strike

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Ahmed Mansoor, an imprisoned human rights defender and blogger, has been on hunger strike since 17 March 2019 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to protest poor prison conditions and his unfair trial which led to a ten-year prison sentence for his human rights activities. 

On 20 March 2017, Ahmed Mansoor, a member of the advisory boards of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, was arrested by the government of the United Arab Emirates and subjected to a period of enforced disappearance. 

On 29 May 2018, he was sentenced by the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court to ten years’ imprisonment, followed by three years of surveillance and a fine of 1,000,000 Emirati Dirhams (around USD $270,000). On 4 June 2018, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, condemned the sentence and called for it to be quashed. He reiterated his previous call to release Ahmed Mansoor. Unfortunately, the sentence was upheld on 31 December 2018 by the Federal Supreme Court in UAE. 

According to a Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)’s article, Mansoor has not yet been able to receive visits from family members and he is kept in isolation in Al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi. Since his arrest on 20 March 2017, there is still confusion about his location since family visits are normally held at Al-Wathba prison.  

In addition, GCHR’s article informs that Mansoor’s eyesight has deteriorated and he has been provided with glasses. His health is considerably weakened, because of poor conditions of imprisonment. Indeed, according to news received in early April, GCHR declared that Mansoor was being kept in a cell with no bed and no water

The European Centre for Democracy & Human Rights (ECDHR) calls on the UAE to immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor, and other unlawfully detained human rights defenders. In addition, ECDHR urgently seeks the assistance of the EU Delegation and EU Member States present in Abu Dhabi to verify Ahmed Mansoor’s status and safeguarding his health by requesting permission from the authorities to visit him.