01:04, January 14 153 0 theguardian.com

2019-01-14 01:04:06
Ahmed Mansoor must be freed now. His jailing is an attack on human rights

We, the undersigned, call on the government of the United Arab Emirates to immediately and unconditionally release prisoner of conscience Ahmed Mansoor.

Mr Mansoor is an internationally acclaimed human rights campaigner, the 2015 winner of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and a member of both the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. In May 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “defaming” the UAE on social media. An appeal to overturn this sentence was rejected on 31 December 2018. Mr Mansoor’s arrest and the charges against him relate solely to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

Mr Mansoor was detained without charge for over a year before trial and denied the right to appoint an independent lawyer. Sources close to him confirmed that he was held in solitary confinement for at least the first six months of his detention, a treatment human rights experts consider to be cruel and inhumane.

The EU parliament and multiple human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have repeatedly called for Mr Mansoor’s release and UN human rights experts have described his case as “a direct attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE”.

As a member of the UN human rights council, the UAE has an obligation to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens. We call on the UAE government to uphold this obligation with respect to Mr Mansoor by ensuring his immediate and unconditional release.

Stephen Fry Actor and presenter

Noam Chomsky Professor

Michael Mansfield QC Barrister

Peter Tatchell Human rights campaigner

Caroline Lucas MP Green, Brighton Pavilion

Ben Bradshaw MP Labour, Exeter

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP Labour, Brighton Kemptown

Andy Slaughter MP Labour, Hammersmith

Martyn Day MP SNP, Linlithgow and East Falkirk

Tom Brake MP Liberal Democrat, Carshalton and Wallington

Christine Jardine MP Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West

Joe Odell The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE

Carles Torner PEN International

Gus Hosein Privacy International

Julia Legner MENA Rights Group

Radha Stirling Detained in Dubai

Rachid Mesli Al Karama

Safwa Aissa International Campaign for Justice and Human Rights

Jonathan Emmett Children’s author

James Mayhew Author and illustrator

Nicola Davies Author

Amanda Craig Author and critic

Laurence Anholt Author

Anne Booth Author

Dylan Calder Director, Pop-up Projects

Fadi Al-Qadi Human rights, civil society, advocacy and media expert

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