Home Page > News Item > United Arab Emirates (UAE): Arbitrary detention of prominent writer and human rights defender reaches three months 

Update #1 to RAN 07/17 –

Available in Arabic 

27 June 2017

PEN International is deeply concerned about the ongoing arbitrarily detention and the safety of Ahmed Mansoor al-Shehhi, a well-known writer and human rights defender who was arrested on 20 March 2017 for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. On the 100th day since his arrest, PEN continues to call for the immediate release of Mansoor who was unfairly arrested and imprisoned.

According to our information, Mr. Mansoor has been held in solitary confinement in al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi since 4 April 2017, without access to a lawyer or authorisation for a family visit. PEN believes that Mansoor’s arrest and detention are in violation of the right to freedom of expression and call upon the UAE authorities to immediately release him, and to ensure his safety and the full respect of his right to freedom of expression and opinion.

 TAKE ACTION! Share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Send appeals to the UAE authorities:

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of writer and human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor;
  • Urging them to end the prosecutions and to drop the criminal charges against Mansoor;
  • Calling on them to ensure the full respect of his rights as a prisoner, in accordance with international human rights standards;
  • Sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

Please write to:

Minister of Justice
M. Sultan Saeed al-Badi
Ministry of Justice
PO Box: 260
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Fax: +971 2 6810680
Email: customer.s.ad@moj.gov.ae

Minister of Interior
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Zayed Sport City, Arab Gulf Street,
PO Box: 398
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Fax: +971 2 402 2762 / +971 2 441 5780
Email: moi@moi.gov.ae

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for UAE in your country if possible. A list of embassies can be found here.

Please inform PEN of any action you take, and of any responses you receive.

Background
Ahmed Mansoor al-Shehhi (أحمد منصور الشحي), a 47 year-old Emirati citizen, is a writer and poet; he published a poetry collection in Arabic entitled Beyond the Failure as well as many articles about human rights and the necessity of political reform in his country. He also has a blog where he used to write on various topics, including articles about the violations that he is subjected to because of his peaceful activities, as well as about the situation of freedom of expression and prisoners of conscience in the UAE. Mansoor is the winner of the 2015 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

Early in the morning of 20 March 2017, Mansoor was reportedly arrested by dozens of uniformed security agents who broke into his home in the city of Ajman confiscating all electronic devices, including phones and laptops belonging to all the members of his family. Mansoor was first held at Abu Dhabi Central Prison al-Wathba before being transferred to the heavily guarded al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi, on 4 April 2017 where he has been held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer or authorisation for a family visit. Mansoor has been charged by the Public Prosecution for Cybercrimes of publishing false information and rumours as well as promoting sectarian agenda through his writings on social media.

It is believed that Mansoor’s arrest is due to his articles critical of the Emirati authorities, more particularly his regular appeal for the release of prisoners of conscience and the respect of public liberties and human rights. On 19 March, one day before his arrest, Mansoor had posted a Tweet on the Gulf Centre for Human Rights Twitter account calling for “the immediate release of human rights defender Osama Al-Najjar as his sentence expires”. Al-Najjar, who was due to be released on 17 March 2017, remains in prison after having served-out a three-year prison sentence.

To see more about our previous action on Ahmed Mansoor al-Shehhi please click here.

For any further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: Nael.Georges@pen-international.org

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