A total of 138 international human rights groups on Thursday demanded the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) immediately release activist Ahmed Mansoor.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and dozens of other groups sent an open letter to UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan urging that "unjustly imprisoned" human rights defender Mansoor be immediately freed.
“As the UAE brazenly promotes itself as a tolerant and rights-respecting state, Ahmed Mansoor, the man who stood up for so many people unjustly imprisoned before him, stands to mark his 50th birthday in solitary confinement in deplorable conditions,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in the letter posted at their website.
“All over the world, organizations and individuals are joining forces to call on the UAE not to let Mansoor spend a third birthday in prison.”
The letter's signatories expressed their grave concern for the health of Mansoor, whom the UAE has held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods.
In March 2017, UAE authorities arrested Mansoor and since that time he had no access to a lawyer and received only very limited visits from his family.
Mansoor was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a closed trial in May 2018, where he was charged with insulting the “status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols,” including its leaders, based on his peaceful calls for reform.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara