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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Ahmed Mansoor


Detained Since: March 20, 2017.

Charges: Insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols including its leaders; publishing false information to damage the UAE’s reputation abroad; and portraying the UAE as a lawless land.  

Sentence: 10 years in prison, a fine of 1,000,000 Emirati Dirhams, and three years surveillance upon release.

Biography: Ahmed Mansoor is a prominent human rights defender from the United Arab Emirates who received the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2015. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, as well as of the Advisory Board of the organization Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). He has documented the human rights situation in the UAE since 2006 and has publicly spoken out against arbitrary detention, torture, and the failure of the UAE to meet international standards of fair trials via his blog, social media, and interviews with the international press. As a result, Mansoor has faced repeated intimidation, harassment, and death threats from the UAE authorities and their supporters, including arrest and imprisonment in 2011 following an unfair trial. In 2016 he was also the victim of a sophisticated spyware attack. 

Ahmed was arrested on March 20, 2017, at his home in Ajman, UAE. A year later his trial started before the State Security Chamber of the Federal Appeal Court. On May 29, 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. He was convicted on charges including "insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols", including its leaders, "publishing false information to damage the UAE’s reputation abroad” and “portraying the UAE as a lawless land.” On December 31, 2018, the State Security Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi upheld his 10-year prison sentence. He has been held in solitary confinement and in poor conditions since his arrest on March 20, 2017. 

Advocacy Partner: Amnesty International


  • Ahmed began a hunger strike on March 17, 2019 that lasted for about 6 weeks to protest his unfair trial and his poor prison condiations. According to reports, his health deteriorated substantially (May 4, 2019, ICFUAE).
  • UN experts expressed grave concern over imprisoned activist Ahmed Mansoor’s physical well-being and said that the poor conditions of his detention in the United Arab Emirates, including prolonged solitary confinement, may constitute torture (May 7, 2019, OHCHR).
  • Ahmed Mansoor's Gulf Centre for Human Rights colleague Brian Dooley profiled him on the anniversary of his sentencing (May 29, 2019, Gulf Centre for Human Rights).
  • U.S. Senators Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Chris Coons, Sherrod Brown and Cory Booker wrote to Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, to ask about plans for the timely release of Ahmed Mansoor (June 11, 2019). 
  • Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor has been on hunger strike for three weeks, Amnesty International said, in protest against “his prison conditions and his unfair trial” (September 6, 2019, Middle East Monitor). The second hunger strike follows a severe beating in reprisal for his protests (September 30, 2019, IFEX). 
  • 142 human rights groups sent a letter to the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) demanding he free human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor (October 16, 2019). 
  • Ahmed Mansoor spent his 50th birthday in solitary confirnement in Al Sadr prison (October 22, 2019, POMED). 
  • Senators Patrick Leahy, Cory Booker, Sherod Brown, as well as Co-Chair Jim McGovern, sent a letter decrying UAE security forces' mistreatment of Mansoor as reported by UN human rights experts (December 6, 2019, Middle East Eye).
  • In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) called for the release of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor (March 22, 2021). 
  • On June 14, 2022, during a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) voiced his continued support for multiple Defending Freedoms Project prisoners of concience, including Raif Badawi, Senator Leila de Lima, Waleed Abu al-Khair, and Ahmed Mansoor (June 14, 2022).