Summary: 88 human rights groups condemn detention of UAE human rights defender

88 international and local human rights organisations , including a number of SRT grantees, have today called for the immediate release of Ahmed Mansoor, an award-winning human rights defender and a member of the Advisory Board of SRT grantee the Gulf Center for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Advisory Committee.

Mansoor, who received the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2015, has been detained since his arrest by the UAE authorities on 20 March 2017 and is facing speech-related charges that include using social media websites to ‘publish false information that harms national unity.’

On 28 March 2017 UN special rapporteurs on human rights defenders, on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression and opinion, and on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, along with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, said that Mansoor’s ‘outstanding work in the protection of human rights and the advancement of democracy, as well as his transparent collaboration with UN mechanisms, is of great value not only for the UAE but for the whole region.’

The UN experts said they feared that his arrest ‘may constitute an act of reprisal for his engagement with UN human rights mechanisms, for the views he expressed on social media, including Twitter, as well as for being an active member of organisations such as the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), and an active supporter of others, including Human Rights Watch’.

The full text of the statement is available here.

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