United Arab Emirates (UAE): Arbitrary detention of prominent writer and human rights defender reaches three months
Available in Arabic
PEN is deeply concerned about the ongoing arbitrary detention and the safety of Ahmed Mansoor al-Shehhi, a well-known writer and human rights defender who was arrested on March 20, 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 April 4, 2017, without access to a lawyer or authorization for a family visit. PEN believes that Mansoor’s arrest and detention are in violation of the right to freedom of expression and calls 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.
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;
- Calling on them to sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Please write to:
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.
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 March 20, 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 April 4, 2017, where he has been held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer or authorization for a family visit. Mansoor has been charged by the Public Prosecution for Cybercrimes of publishing false information and rumors as well as promoting a 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, particularly his regular appeal for the release of prisoners of conscience and respect for public liberties and human rights. On March 19, 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 March 17, 2017, remains in prison after having served out a three-three-year prison sentence.
To see more about our previous action on Ahmed Mansoor al-Shehhi please click here.