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FI 200/15-6
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Abgeschlossen am 10. Januar 2019

Possible verdict for human rights defender

AI-Index: MDE 25/9624/2018

On 24 December 2018 the Federal Supreme Court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to hear the appeal of prominent human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Ahmed Mansoor. The court may issue a final verdict. On 29 May 2018, Ahmed Mansoor was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges including «insulting the UAE and its symbols».

Prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor is scheduled to appear on appeal before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on 24 December 2018. It is not known whether the court will issue its verdict.

On 29 May, the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court of Abu Dhabi sentenced Ahmed Mansoor 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 organisation operating outside the country» but was acquitted on this charge.

On 4 October 2018, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Ahmed Mansoor’s harassment, persecution and detention, and calling for his release. The resolution also indicated for the first time that he had appealed his sentence and that he was detained in al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi. Since his arrest Ahmed Mansoor has only received very few and restricted family visits, held in government offices rather than in prison so that it remains impossible to verify his place of detention.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Ahmed Mansoor is married and the father of four young boys. He is a member of the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, as well as a member of the advisory board of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. He has documented the human rights situation in the UAE since 2006 and has spoken out publicly in defence of international human rights in his blog, via social media and in interviews with international media.

On 20 March 2017, Ahmed Mansoor was arrested at his home in the emirate of Ajman in the UAE. Several hours after his arrest, the state-run news website announced that he was arrested on the orders of the Office of Public Prosecution for Cybercrimes and was detained pending further investigation on charges of «us[ing] … social media sites to publish false and misleading information that harm[s] national unity and social harmony and damage[s] the country’s reputation», and «promoting [a] sectarian and hate-incited agenda».

On 28 March 2017, a group of UN human rights experts called on the UAE to release Ahmed Mansoor immediately, describing his arrest as «a direct attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE». They expressed fear that his arrest «may constitute an act of reprisal for his engagement with UN human rights mechanisms, for the views he expressed on social media, including Twitter». See also: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21449&LangID=E&_sm_au_=iVV5L7PTt6N6VHk6.

On 29 March 2017, the authorities stated that Ahmed Mansoor was held in custody at the Central Prison (al-Wathba prison) in Abu Dhabi; that he had «the freedom to hire a lawyer» and that his family was allowed to visit him. Despite these claims, Ahmed Mansoor’s exact place of detention remains unverified. According to Amnesty International’s information, he had no access to a lawyer, and has been held in prolonged solitary confinement, which violates the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment. Since his arrest, Ahmed Mansoor has received a few supervised family visits including on 3 April and 17 September 2017, when he was brought to the Public Prosecution building in Abu Dhabi.

At the end of February 2018, a group of international human rights organizations commissioned two Irish lawyers to travel to Abu Dhabi to seek access to Ahmed Mansoor. The UAE authorities gave the lawyers conflicting information about his whereabouts. The Ministry of Interior, the official body responsible for prisons and prisoners, denied any knowledge of his whereabouts and referred the lawyers to the police. The police also said they had no information about his whereabouts. The lawyers also visited al-Wathba Prison in Abu Dhabi. However, the prison authorities told the lawyers that he was not being held there. See also: UAE: Joint statement: One year on, award-winning human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor’s whereabouts remain unknown (AI Index: MDE 25/8101/2018), 20 March 2018, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde25/8101/2018/en/).

Name: Ahmed Mansoor (male)

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