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UAE: POC held in dire conditions

    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 13:20

    Ahmed Mansoor © Martin Ennals Foundation


    UPDATE of February 12: Ahmed Mansoor's health has deteriorated to the point that he can no longer walk without help. He continues to be held in isolation without a mattress or access to fresh air and sunlight.

    On 7 September 2019, human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor went on hunger strike to protest his detention conditions, and after prison guards beat him. He ended his strike at the end of October, with signs of deteriorating health. His conditions have not improved. He remains in solitary confinement, without a mattress or access to fresh air and sunlight, since his arrest on 20 March 2017.   

    For the first week of his hunger strike, prison guards forced him to eat, but from 14 September and until at least 28 October, Ahmed was on continuous hunger strike, ingesting only fluids. His health has deteriorated both physically and psychologically. Since the beginning of his detention on 20 March 2017, the only improvement to his conditions is that running water in the isolation ward was made available in October 2019.

    The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) state that solitary confinement for more than 15 days can amount to torture and other ill-treatment.

    Please send a fax, tweet or letter to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

    • Start with Your Excellency and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique. 
    • Urge him to quash Ahmed Mansoor’s conviction and sentence and release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association, including through his human rights work.
    • Until he is free, insist that he is detained in conditions that comply with international standards.
    • Seek assurances that Ahmed Mansoor is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment and has immediate and regular access to his family and any health care he may require.

    Write to

    Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan 
    Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
    Crown Prince Court
    King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street
    P.O. Box 124
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
    Fax:         011 971 2 668 6622
    Twitter:     @MohamedBinZayed
    Please copy

    His Excellency Fahad Saeed M. A. Alraqbani
    Ambassador for the United Arab Emirates
    125 Boteler Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1N 0A4
    Phone:        613 565 7272

    Vice-President and Prime Minister
    HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum
    Prime Minister’s Office
    PO Box 212000
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    Fax:         011 971 4 330 4044
    Via website: 
    Twitter:     @HHShkMohd

    Additional information

    Ahmed Mansoor was arrested on 20 March 2017, at his home in the emirate of Ajman in the UAE. His trial started a year later before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court. On 29 May 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1,000,000 Emirati Dirhams (around USD $270,000). The court also ordered that he be placed under surveillance for three years after his release. 

    He was convicted on charges including "insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols", including its leaders, "publish[ing] false information to damage [the] UAE’s reputation abroad” and “portray[ing] the UAE as a lawless land.” He was also charged with “cooperating with a terrorist organization operating outside the country” but was acquitted on this charge on 31 December 2018 by State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court that upheld his conviction and sentence. Since his arrest, Ahmed has been held in solitary confinement.

    On 17 March 2019, Ahmed went on hunger strike to protest his detention conditions in Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi, as well as his unfair trial. He ended his hunger strike in mid-April after the authorities promised to address his demands relating to his detention conditions. He was then allowed a few more family visits and was granted a phone call to his mother. 

    On 7 May 2019, seven UN experts condemned Ahmed’s prison conditions and called for him to receive medical treatment, for his detention conditions to be improved and for his retrial “in accordance with the fundamental judicial guarantees provided for in international human rights law, or his immediate release.” 

    Ahmed is a blogger, a poet and a prominent human rights defender who received the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2015. He is a member of the advisory committee of the NGO Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, as well as of the advisory board of the organization Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). He has documented the human rights situation in the UAE since 2006 and has publicly spoken out in defence of human rights on his blog, via social media and in interviews with international media. Ahmed Mansoor is a longstanding and trusted friend of Amnesty International and other human rights organizations. 

    Amnesty International has worked very closely with Ahmed Mansoor over the years. Up until his arrest, he was one of the only independent voices still brave enough to speak out against human rights violations from inside the country.  

    If you want Updates on this case, send your request to with “Keep me updated on Ahmed Mansoor” in the subject line.