UAE- MENA Rights Defenders received information today that UAE human rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor, winner of 2015 Laureate Martin Ennals Award and member of Human Rights Watch’s MENA Advisory Board, was detained last night, March 19th, and taken to an unknown place.
Ahmed Mansoor is one of the rare voices within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who provides a credible independent assessment of human rights developments in the country. He regularly raises concerns on arbitrary detention, torture or ill or degrading treatment, failure to meet international standards for fair trials, non-independence of the judiciary, domestic laws that violate international law, and other violations of civil rights. He has been jailed previously for his efforts, and was until his confinement yesterday unable to travel outside of the country.
Available information on Ahmed’s detention confirm that his apartment in Dubai was raided apparently by members of the UAE State Security, and that all computers and electronic devices, including those of his children, were confiscated. Currently, there is no news on his whereabouts, the place of detention, or the reason for which he has been detained.
Only today, ironically, a group of prominent Arab human rights different from 14 countries, which Ahmed was part of, released a letter addressing the Arab Summit which will be held later this month, calling on the to take measures to guarantee freedom of expression and release thousands of political and consciousness prisoners.
We fear that his possible detention may be a form of forced disappearance given that the authorities have not disclosed his place of detention nor specified the charges upon which he has been detained. There have been numerous incidents of forced disappearances by UAE authorities in the past. We also fear that Ahmed Mansoor may be subjected to ill-treatment while disappeared.
We therefor call on the UAE government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of this leading rights activist, the reason for his detention, and any charges against him
MENA Rights Defenders is a group of human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa. Its members firmly believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International human rights conventions, and seek through this framework to disseminate, promote and defend the values, principles and standards of human rights in the Middle East and North Africa and all countries of the world.