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.
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. Ahmed was on a hunger strike for about 6 weeks starting on March 17, 2019 and his health deteriorated substantially.
Advocacy Partner: Amnesty International
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)