Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center

What did they say about the Emirati activist Ahmed Mansour?

22 Oct 2021
متوفر باللغة

From his arrest at midnight on 20 March 2017 to the present day, calls and statements from human rights organizations and international bodies calling for the release of Emirati activist Ahmed Mansour have not ceased, and despite the approach of the fifth year of his detention, his name continues to be repeated in statements by United Nations bodies and experts, and even world leaders.

Numerous figures including United Nations human rights experts, the European Parliament, members of the U.S. Congress, several Nobel laureates, well-known authors, prominent intellectuals, and international politicians have condemned Mansour's continued detention.

Prominent international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch continue to campaign for the release of the Emirati activist.

In this report, we will list the most important reports from human rights organizations, international bodies, and political figures from the time of Ahmed Mansour's arrest until today:


(27 March 2017): UN rights experts urge UAE: “Immediately release Human Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor”

United Nations rights experts are urging the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to immediately release the renowned human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, who was arrested last week.

“We regard Mr. Mansoor’s arrest and detention as a direct attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE,” the experts said. “Mr. Mansoor’s outstanding work in the protection of human rights and the advancement of democracy, as well as his transparent collaboration with UN mechanisms, is of great value not only for the UAE but for the whole region,” they emphasized.

The experts urged the authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of Mr. Mansoor, a recent winner of the Martin Ennals Prize for human rights, stressing that secret detention is a form of enforced disappearance. They also gave a warning that “the fact that Mr. Mansoor is being held in an unknown location puts him at serious risk of ill treatment and torture.”

The UN rights experts: The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association.


(27 October 2017): Joint letter from United Nations experts to the UAE authorities on the Mansour case

On 27 October 2017, the United Nations experts sent a joint letter to the UAE authorities (ARE 7/2017) indicating that the response of the UAE authorities to urgent appeal No. (ARE 1/2017), received on 25 April 2017, was limited to denying the allegations and failing to prove that Mansoor had disseminated misinformation online in order to spread hatred.

The letter again requested information on Mansoor's whereabouts and pointed out that Mansoor has been held in solitary confinement for seven months. It also called on the UAE authorities to clarify the legal basis for Mansoor's detention.


(4 may 2018): Joint letter from United Nations experts to the UAE authorities on the Mansour case

In May 2018, United Nations experts sent a joint letter to the UAE authorities (AL ARE 1/2018) expressing concern about Mansoor's continued incommunicado detention and prevention from appointing a lawyer, as well as his detention in an unknown location.

The experts from UN also expressed their concern about the allegations against Mr. Mansoor related to his legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression in the context of his work as a human rights defender, as well as the violation of fair trial guarantees, and called on the UAE authorities to provide them with the information they had requested in previous communications.


(31 May 2018): Amnesty International condemns Mansour's 10-year prison sentence

Amnesty International released a statement on May 31 saying that Ahmed Mansoor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined one million Emirati dirhams (approximately $270,000) for his posts on social media is a devastating blow to freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International said.

“Ahmed Mansoor is one of the few openly critical voices in the UAE, and his persecution is another nail in the coffin for human rights activism in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director..


(12 June 2018): UN experts call for immediate release of jailed human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor

UN human rights experts are urging the authorities in the United Arab Emirates to immediately free the prize-winning human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor and annul the 10-year prison sentence imposed on him.

“The sentencing of Ahmed Mansoor represents an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression and freedom of association, as well as on human rights defenders in the United Arab Emirates as a whole,” said the UN experts.


(4 October 2018): European Parliament publishes resolution on the status of human rights defender Ahmed Mansour

On 4 October 2018, the European Parliament adopted a resolution (2018/2862 (RSP)) strongly condemning the harassment, persecution and detention of Ahmed Mansoor and calling on the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr Mansoor and drop all charges against him as he is a detained prisoner of conscience. Simply because he has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression, including through his human rights work.

The resolution also expresses Parliament's deep concern about reports that Ahmed Mansoor has been subjected to forms of torture or ill-treatment during his detention and is being held in solitary confinement. It calls on the authorities to investigate this regular access and to grant him immediate access to a lawyer and to his family, as well as to any medical care he may need.


(1 January 2019): Statement by the Spokesperson on the case of Ahmed Mansoor

A spokesman for the European Parliament issued a statement on the Ahmed Mansoor case, stressing that no one should be imprisoned simply for peacefully expressing their views. He indicated that the European Union would continue to follow Ahmed Mansoor's case closely and would seek to reconsider his case in its discussions with the UAE authorities.

“We believe that no one shall be detained merely on the grounds of peacefully expressing his or her opinions. The rights to freedom of opinion and freedom of expression, including on social networks, as they are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are key principles that we will continue to stand up for.” said the statement.


(14 January 2019): Politicians and Nobel laureates call for Mansour's release

On January 14, 2019, politicians, activists, and prominent figures such as Stephen Fry and Noam Chomsky sent a letter to the UAE authorities demanding the release of Ahmed Mansoor. This letter was reported by the Guardian newspaper.


(12 April 2019): Human Rights Watch calls for Mansour's release because of his deteriorating health

Human Rights Watch demanded in a statement that UAE authorities immediately release Ahmed Mansour, whose health has rapidly deteriorated due to his hunger strike, which he began nearly a month ago.

“Ahmed Mansoor is risking his health to call attention to his deeply unjust imprisonment simply because he advocated for the kind of tolerant, progressive society the UAE claims to be,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “UAE authorities should immediately and unconditionally release Mansoor so that he can continue to serve as a voice for justice in a region desperately in need of it.”.


(7 May 2019): UN experts call for immediate release of jailed human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor

UN human rights experts are gravely concerned over imprisoned activist Ahmed Mansoor’s physical well-being and say the poor conditions of his detention in the United Arab Emirates, including prolonged solitary confinement, may constitute torture.


(16 October 2019): Amnesty launches a Global call for release of prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor

Amnesty International has launched a global week of action from 16 to 23 October to campaign for the release of Ahmed Mansoor, who is serving an unjust 10-year prison term for his peaceful human rights work, ahead of his 50th birthday on 22 October.

The authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must immediately end the unlawful imprisonment of Ahmed Mansoor, said more than 100 organizations including Amnesty International, in an open letter to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.

A series of protests and events calling for the release of Ahmed Mansoor on his 50th birthday will be taking place including in London, Brussels, Melbourne, New York, Toronto and Washington DC – with social media campaigning using the #FreeAhmed hashtag


(13 December 2019): US Congress members call on UAE to release rights activist Ahmed Mansoor

A group of US Democratic legislators urged the United Arab Emirates to release human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, as the UAE continues to promote itself as a champion of tolerance.

In a letter to Emirati President Khalifa bin Zayed released on Friday, three US senators and three members of the US House of Representatives said human rights must remain at the "forefront" of the alliance between Washington and Abu Dhabi.


(2 March 2020): Authors and Nobel laureates call on UAE to free human rights defenders and give them books, during Hay Festival Abu Dhabi

Over 60 civil society organisations, writers, personalities and Nobel laureates have appealed to the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to free detained human rights defenders, during the Hay Festival Abu Dhabi, which ran from 25 to 28 February 2020.

The joint letter was signed by Nobel laureates Wole Soyinka and Ahmed Galai, as well as Egyptian author Ahdaf Soueif, poets Serge Pey and Pierre Joris, who all participated in events at last week’s Hay Festival Abu Dhabi. Further prominent signatories include intellectual Noam Chomsky and British author and actor Stephen Fry, the Hay Festival’s President.

The letter calls for the release of Ahmed Mansoor, a poet and engineer, Sorbonne academic Dr. Nasser Bin Ghaith, and human rights lawyers Dr. Mohammed Al-Roken and Dr. Mohammed Al-Mansoori.


(25 January 2021): A letter from the UN mandates on the detention conditions for Mansour

The mandate holders of the UN Special Procedures sent a joint letter to the UAE authorities expressing concern about the conditions of Mansour's detention and his placement in solitary confinement since 2018 (ARE 1/2021)). The mandate holders noted that Mansour, Muhammad al-Roken and Nasser bin Ghaith were ill-treated in circumstances that could amount to torture and called on the authorities to release them.


(27 January 2021): Human Rights Watch report on the persecution of Ahmed Mansour

Human Rights Watch has released a 30-page report on the ill-treatment during detention and unfair trial of Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor.

The report, titled "The Persecution of Ahmed Mansoor: How the United Arab Emirates Silenced its Most Famous Human Rights Activist," details the facts of Mansoor's trial and his human rights advocacy, and describes him as the last surviving human rights defender in the UAE before his arrest.


(15 September 2021): European Parliament calls for withdrawal from Expo Dubai over continued detention of Mansour

The European Parliament has called on the international companies sponsoring "Expo 2020 Dubai" to withdraw their sponsorship and on EU Member States to refrain from participating in it, through joint motion for a resolution No 2873/2021 (RSP), due to ongoing human rights violations in the UAE, in particular with regard to detainees of conscience.

The resolution also condemns the arrest of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and all human rights defenders in the UAE who have been imprisoned solely for exercising their basic human rights.

The Parliament deeply deplores the gap between Abu Dhabi's claims to be a tolerant and rights-respecting country and the fact that its human rights defenders are being held in harsh conditions.


(1 October 2021): Reference to Ahmed Mansoor in the Secretary-General's reports on human rights defenders

The name of Ahmed Mansoor was mentioned in the report of the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ilze Brands Kehris, at the 48th Ordinary Session of the Human Rights Council among the victims subjected to reprisals for their cooperation with the United Nations.

The report (A/HRC/48/28) states that Mansour has been subjected to intimidation and reprisals for his cooperation with United Nations human rights mechanisms and has been tortured and held incommunicado since 2018, and that he was mentioned in previous reports in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017.


(6 October 2021): Former UN rights commissioner Robinson urges UAE to free activist

Former U.N. human rights commissioner Mary Robinson, visiting Dubai, urged the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday to free a pro-democracy campaigner jailed in 2018 for criticising the government on social media.

"He is regarded by the human rights community as a brave human rights defender," said Robinson while addressing a climate event at the Expo Dubai world fair. "This (releasing him) would be a timely move also called for by the parliament of the European Union."