Describing him “as a brave human rights defender”

Robinson calls on UAE to free HRD Ahmed Mansour

7 Oct 2021
Robinson calls on UAE to free HRD Ahmed Mansour

Former UN 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.

Rights groups say Ahmed Mansoor, who is serving a 10-year sentence, may be suffering treatment amounting to torture. The UAE has denied mistreating him.

"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."

When contacted for comment, the UAE foreign ministry referred Reuters to an earlier statement in which it rejected a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report voicing concern about Mansoor's welfare.

UAE authorities arrested Mansour, who is one of the most prominent human rights activists, in 2017 and the Emirati judiciary sentenced him to 10 years in prison the following year for "harming the reputation of the state". Since his arrest, UAE authorities have held Mansour in a small solitary cell and deprived him of reading materials, a bed and other basic necessities.

According to HRW, UAE authorities have zero tolerance for dissent. Mansoor is one of dozens of activists, academics, and lawyers serving long prison sentences for calling for democratic reforms.

Ahmed Mansour is a member of the advisory boards of the Gulf Center for Human Rights and the Middle East division of HRW. He was awarded the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2015. Several human rights organizations have called on the UAE government to end the illegal detention of human rights defender Mansour and release him unconditionally.