United Arab Emirates: #FreeAhmed Mansoor immediately and without any conditions

December 21, 2018

Prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor has been held in solitary confinement in Al-Wathba prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since his arrest, according to reliable sources. The first hearing of his appeal trial took place before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court on 17 December 2018, and was adjourned to 24 December 2018. A lawyer has been appointed by the court to represent Mansoor. We the undersigned human rights organisations, call for his immediate and unconditional release. We are concerned that the date chosen, 24 December, indicates the UAE authorities wish to avoid international attention. If Mansoor’s sentence is upheld, the decision of the court is final and cannot be appealed.

Ahmed Mansoor, is the laureate of the 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, advisory board member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the last human rights defender to have been speaking out publicly defending people’s rights in the UAE before his arrest last year.

Mansoor was arrested by the UAE authorities on 20 March 2017 and essentially held incommunicado since that date with only very infrequent family visits. He was sentenced on 29 May 2018, in the same court that will hear his appeal: the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court in Abu Dhabi, which sentenced him to ten years in prison and fined him 1,000,000 Emirati Dirham (approximately USD $270,000) for posts he made on social media. The trial lacked the minimum international standards for fair trials and due process.

Mansoor was reported to have been convicted of “publish[ing] false information, rumours and lies about the UAE” which “would damage the UAE’s social harmony and unity.”

The European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on 04 October 2018 condemning his imprisonment and calling for his release.

The EP resolution “Strongly condemns the harassment, persecution and detention of Ahmed Mansoor as well as of all other human rights defenders solely on the basis of their human rights work and their use of their right to freedom of expression both online and offline;” and “Calls on the authorities to release Mr Mansoor immediately and unconditionally, and to drop all charges against him, as he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, including through his human rights work; also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience in the UAE and for all charges against them to be dropped.”

The undersigned organisations are very concerned about the safety and well-being of Ahmed Mansoor and other detained human rights defenders who have faced poor treatment, including being held in arbitrary detention and solitary confinement for long periods of time before being brought to trial, contrary to international human rights law.

Please join us by asking your government, the UN and the EU to press the UAE authorities to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor as he was arrested and detained solely for his peaceful human rights activities;
  1. Allow international observers including local diplomatic representatives into the court on 24 December 2018 and to subsequent trial sessions;
  2. Allow UN and EU experts, or international NGOs access to visit Ahmed Mansoor, as well as other human rights defenders, who are detained in UAE prisons;
  3. Pending his release, ensure that Ahmed Mansoor is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, including prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement which can amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and
  4. Pending his release, ensure that Ahmed Mansoor is treated in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including by giving him regular access to his family, as well as to any medical care he may require.

Join us! Email your message or Tweet using the hashtag #FreeAhmed to the following:


UAE Authorities:

  1. Vice-President and Prime Minister HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, info@pmo.gov.ae / @HHShkMohd
  2. Minister of Interior Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, moi@moi.gov.ae

EU and UN representatives:

  1. European Parliament Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights Pier Antonio Panzeri, @AntonioPanzeri
  2. UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Michel Forst, @ForstMichel

Foreign countries with diplomatic representatives in the UAE:

  1. United States State Department, @StateDept
  2. United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Human Rights & Democracy department, @FCOHumanRights
  3. Canada Foreign policy, @CanadaFP
  4. French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, @francediplo_EN
  5. Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs @DutchMFA



FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)

Martin Ennals Foundation

Rights Realization Centre

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders