On 29 May 2018, Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights defender and the 2015 Martin Ennals Award Laureate was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. He was also handed a fine of one million UAE dirham ($270’000) for criticising the UAE authorities on social media.
Ahmed Mansoor was arbitrarily arrested on 20 March 2017 by the security forces at his home in Ajman and secretly detained for more than a year, in violation of international law and despite condemnation from UN human rights experts on 28 March 2017.
On 12 June 2018, UN experts expressed, once again, their concern about this sentence, calling on the UAE authorities “to immediately release human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor”, recalling that this sentence “represents an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression and freedom of association, as well as on human rights defenders in the United Arab Emirates as a whole”, and adding that they are “particularly concerned his sentence may constitute an act of reprisal for his engagement with UN human rights mechanisms”.
AVT-UAE strongly condemns the court decision, which is a clear violation of Ahmed Mansoor’s right to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as his right not to be subjected to arbitrary and secret detention, which is considered as an enforced disappearance and a form of incommunicado detention under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPAPD). Secret detention facilitates the perpetration of torture and can itself constitute a form of ill-treatment. As a consequence, AVT-UAE estimates Ahmed Mansoor as a victim of torture according to the Convention against Torture (CAT), which was ratified by the UAE on 19 July 2012.
AVT-UAE calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmed Mansoor. Furthermore, pending his release, UAE authorities must reveal his location and give him access to a lawyer, his family and any requisite health care.