Alarmed by the sentence, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Mr Pier Antonio Panzeri, reiterates his previous call to release human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor.

“This conviction, based solely on Ahmed Mansoor’s postings on social media, is a violation of his right to freedom of expression which is not only guaranteed by universal human rights instruments but also by the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a party.

 

His conviction must therefore be annulled so that Ahmed Mansoor can be unconditionally released and able to return to his family.

 

Pending his release, I call on the UAE authorities to:

  • disclose his whereabouts and ensure that he is held in an official place of detention;
  • ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, including prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement;
  • allow UN experts, international NGOs or EU officials access to visit him.

 

Ahmed Mansoor is not the only human rights activist detained in UAE prisons. Such grave violations of freedom of expression are a stain on the UAE’s international reputation. I therefore call on the UAE authorities to release all prisoners of conscience including the Emirati human rights defender and blogger Osama al-Najjar, who remains in prison despite having completed a three-year prison sentence in 2017 on charges related to his peaceful activities on Twitter, as well as prominent academic and economist Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith.

 

Background:

 

Ahmed Mansoor was arrested on 20 March 2017 and since then held in an unknown location with only very limited family visits. He was also denied access to a lawyer of his choosing during the trial.

 

The DROI Chair has already called on the United Arab Emirates to unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor shortly after his arrest.

 

On 28 May 2018, the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeals sentenced him to 10 years in prison, a fine of 1,000,000 UAE Dirhams, three years of probation after completion of his sentence and confiscation of his electronic devices.

 

On 30 May the UAE based newspaper “Gulf News” reported that he was found guilty of “using social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. to publish false information, rumours and lies about the UAE and promoted sectarian feelings and hatred that would damage the UAE's social harmony and unity.”

 

The ruling can be appealed through the Federal Supreme Court following a recent change in the law.

In 2015, Mansoor won the Martin Ennals award for human rights defenders for his work in the UAE.

 

The Emirati human rights defender and blogger Osama al-Najjar was arrested on 17 March 2014 for campaigning on social media and expressing concern about his father’s torture and ill-treatment during the detention, the conditions in Al-Razaan prison and the unfair UAE94 trial. After spending three years in prison, he was due for release on 17 March 2017, however; the UAE authorities did not release him.

 

The Emirati economist and academic, Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, was sentenced in March 2017 to 10 years in prison for criticising the Egyptian regime’s violations of human rights.

 

 

Contact:

Office of MEP Pier Antonio PANZERI

+32(0)2 28 45349

pierantonio.panzeri@europarl.europa.eu