GCHR issues an urgent call on international bodies to visit prominent Emirati human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor, who has been on a liquid-only hunger strike since September 2019, in protest of his dehumanizing prison conditions.
This statement was originally published on gc4hr.org on 8 February 2020.
Prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, a member of the Advisory Board of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), remains on a liquids-only hunger strike that he began in September 2019 to protest his abysmal conditions in Al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). GCHR issues this urgent appeal to the United Nations, European Union and Embassies in the UAE to seek a visit with Mansoor in prison, and to help improve his condition.
As the anniversary of Mansoor’s arrest on 20 March 2017 approaches, his health is suffering and his life is at risk. He has been held continuously in an isolation cell, which he is not allowed to leave apart from occasional family visits. A local source told GCHR recently that he has been psychologically abused to put pressure on him, and could no longer walk, since he continues the liquids-only hunger strike that he started five months ago. He also still has no mattress, no access to sunshine, and no books or television.
Mansoor first went on hunger strike for four weeks on 17 March 2019, but after the authorities permitted him to phone his sick mother and to go outside in the sun for the first time, he ended his hunger strike. He was also promised a bed. According to another source, Mansoor began his second hunger strike on 7 September 2019 after a severe beating, and broken promises by prison officials.
According to a source who contacted GCHR on 10 December 2019, after Mansoor began his hunger strike in September, he was forced to eat every few days by the guards, but they stopped force-feeding him and he was on continuous hunger strike from 14 September onwards, taking only juice and mineral water. As of mid-January, Mansoor was still on hunger strike and we have no news since then.
UAE authorities have refused to allow independent experts or monitors to visit him in prison to confirm the conditions in which he is being held. GCHR requests an independent expert such as a UN Special Rapporteur working on the thematic issues of human rights defenders, torture, arbitrary detention or freedom of expression to urgently visit Mansoor.
Furthermore, GCHR reiterates calls for the authorities to release Mansoor immediately, and while he remains in prison, to ensure he receives any medical care needed, and to provide him with the basic necessities, such as a bed with a mattress, exercise and sunshine, as well as reading materials. Keeping him in prolonged isolation amounts to torture, and violates the UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Mandela Rules.
The UAE continues to hold events in the country organised or supported by the Ministry of Tolerance, such as the upcoming Hay Festival Abu Dhabi on 25-28 February 2020, or the Dubai Expo, which runs from October 2020 to April 2021. Please watch for upcoming campaigns from GCHR and its partners.
You can also find more news about Mansoor and the human rights situation in the UAE at the Friends of Ahmed Mansoor Facebook page or Twitter, which were created after his first hunger strike in March by friends and supporters, including from GCHR.
Please circulate news about Ahmed Mansoor’s condition widely and tweet tagging the UN Special Procedures, asking for their help to #FreeAhmed and #GiveAhmedaBed.