Home Page > News Item > United Arab Emirates (UAE): Internet writers detained; fears for safety

RAN 44/11 10 August 2011

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) is seriously concerned about the detention of Internet writers Ahmed Mansoor and Nasser Bin Gheith, who are facing charges for their dissident activities and writings. Mansoor has reportedly faced ill-treatment in prison, and there are serious concerns for his welfare. PEN International protests the detention of Ahmed Mansoor and Bin Gheith and calls for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the UAE is a signatory.  It also seeks assurances that the men are protected from ill-treatment, and given full access to any necessary medical care whilst detained.

According to PEN’s information, well known blogger and rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and internet writer and economic analyst Nasser Bin Gheith were arrested from their homes on 8 and 10 April 2011 respectively after signing a petition calling for democratic and economic reforms. They are among five activists to be facing charges of “insulting the head of the state”, “stirring sectarian strife”, and “destabilization”  after they participated in the online pro-democracy forum Emirati Dialogue (Emirati Hiwar). Their trial started on 18 July 2011, and they pleaded not guilty to the charges at a closed hearing in Abu Dhabi. On 25 July 2011, the court adjourned the trial to 26 September 2011.

Mansoor is being held at Al-Wathba prison, in the city of Abu Dhabi, where he has reportedly been ill-treated and denied adequate health care by prison administration. He was initially held in solitary confinement and is now being held with convicted criminals, and is said to be at risk of attack.

Prior to his arrest, Mansoor had been reportedly harassed and threatened following an online smear campaign against him.

Useful links:

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Please send appeals immediately to the United Arab Emirate’s authorities:

  • Protesting the arrest and continued detention of blogger Ahmed Mansoor and writer Nasser Bin Gheith who are being held solely for the peaceful expression of their opinions;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Mansoor  and Bin Gheith who are detained in violation of Article 19 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
  • Calling on the UAE authorities to drop all charges against Mansoor and Bin Gheith;
  • Expressing concerns for Mansoor’s and Bin Gheith’s safety and calling on the UAE authorities to investigate the allegations of ill-treatment.

APPEALS TO:

Vice-President and Prime Minister

Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Co-Chair of the Higher National Security Council,

Office of the Prime Minister

POB 2838, Dubai, UAE

Fax: +971 4 3531974; Email through Web:http://www.uaepm.ae/en/communicate/index.html

Salutation: Your Highness

 

Minister of Interior

Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

Minister of Interior

Human Rights Directorate

POB: 398, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Fax: +971 4 3981119

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahya

POB 1, Abu Dhabi,

United Arab Emirates

Fax: +971 2 4447766

Salutation: Your Excellency

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for United Arab Emirates in your country if possible.

***Please contact this office if sending appeals after 31 August 2011***

For further information please contact Ghias Aljundi  at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: Ghias.Aljundi@pen-international.org

 

image_print