ADHRB launches a campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional release of human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor 

Under the slogan “#It’s time to release Ahmed Mansour “, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) announces the launch of a campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional release of the Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, who is detained due to his peaceful human rights-related activities. The organization sent a letter to the Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as the Chairman and members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights in the US Congress, British Parliament, Swiss Parliament, Norwegian Parliament, and Icelandic Parliament, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations. The organization urged these entities to:

  • Express concern over Ahmed Mansoor’s poor prison conditions to Emirati authorities and demand his immediate and unconditional release;
  • Raise concern and exert pressure through relevant diplomatic channels to pressure the UAE to end its human rights violations; and
  • Make public and private representations, including posts on social media, to raise the profile of this case and push for a resolution.

The campaign will continue on social media for a week, during which a number of posts carrying the hashtag “#FreeAhmedMansoor” will be published on the organization’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, in addition to a number of infographics documenting his biography, case, and suffering in prison, with a focus on the main demands outlined in the letter.

The organization called on various parties to pressure the UAE for the immediate and unconditional release of the prominent Emirati human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor, who was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2018 on charges of insulting the “status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols,” and using his social media account to spread “hatred and sectarianism.” Since his arrest, he has been held in solitary confinement in al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi, where he is kept in dire conditions and has been subjected to enforced disappearance for more than six months.

The organization expressed particular concern regarding Mansoor’s deteriorating health in the harrowing prison conditions in which he is kept, revealing some of his suffering:

  • In March 2019, Mansoor went on a hunger strike to protest his poor prison conditions and unfair trial. He was held in a cell with no bed, no water, and no access to a shower.
  • In September 2019, Mansoor went on a second hunger strike to protest continued poor treatment. He was beaten as a result, which left a visible mark on his face, indicating he may have been tortured.
  • His reading glasses were confiscated, he was moved to a smaller and more isolated cell, and he was denied access to critical medical care.
  • He has been held in solitary confinement for nearly five years.

Since his imprisonment, human rights groups and international entities have consistently demanded Mansoor’s immediate release. In October 2018, the European Parliament passed a resolution urging the UAE to cease all forms of harassment against human rights defenders. This was followed by a resolution in 2021 that specifically focused on Mansoor and called for his immediate and unconditional release, along with that of other human rights defenders, political activists, and peaceful dissidents. Similar calls have been made by UN human rights experts – who declared him “kept in solitary confinement, and in conditions of detention that violate basic international human rights standards” – US Democratic legislators, over 130 organizations worldwide, more than 50 civil society organizations and individuals, writers, and Nobel laureates, as well as organizations such as Amnesty International and the GCHR.

Despite these efforts, Mansoor remains in isolation and continues to be subjected to inhumane conditions that amount to torture and degrading treatment. These violations, carried out by the Emirati authorities, are in breach of both Emirati and international human rights laws, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. Therefore, ADHRB urges external and diplomatic parties to call for Ahmed Mansoor’s immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all those imprisoned for exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression.