Responding to confirmed reports that prominent Emirati human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor, has been on hunger strike for more than three weeks to protest his prison conditions and the unfair trial he was subjected to before being sentenced, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said:
“It is clearly not enough for the UAE authorities to have wrongly convicted and sentenced Ahmed Mansoor to 10 years behind bars. It seems they want to further crush him by making his life in prison unbearable, including by keeping him in solitary confinement since his arrest two years ago.
“As a human right defender, arrested solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, Ahmed Mansoor should never have been tried and imprisoned in the first place, and we are greatly concerned that his lengthy hunger strike would result in the deterioration of his health.
“Ahmed Mansoor’s only ‘crime’ was to express his peaceful opinions on social media. It is outrageous that the authorities are so vindictive towards him, especially after branding 2019 as the ‘year of tolerance.’ He should be released immediately and unconditionally.”
“Pending his release, the UAE authorities must ensure that Ahmed Mansoor’s detention conditions are improved in line with international standards and that he has immediate and regular access to his family and any health care he may require.”
Ahmed Mansoor is a blogger, a poet and a prominent human rights defender who received the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2015.
Ahmed was arrested on 20 March 2017, at his home in the emirate of Ajman in the UAE and a year later his trial started 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. His conviction and sentence were upheld on appeal on 31 December 2018.