United Arab Emirates: Arrest and detention in a secret location of Mr. Ahmed Mansoor

20/03/2017
Urgent Appeal

ARE 001 / 0317 / OBS 030
Detention in a secret location /
Risk of torture and ill-treatment
United Arab Emirates
March 20, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest and detention in a secret location of Mr. Ahmed Mansoor, member of the Advisory Board of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and 2015 Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

According to the information received, on March 20, 2017 around midnight, Mr. Ahmed Mansoor was arrested at his home in Ajman by alleged members of UAE security forces, including 10 men and two women, and taken to an unknown location.

As of publishing this Urgent Appeal, the reason for his arrest and his whereabouts remain unknown. It is fearead that his arrest might be linked to a series of tweets he posted on Twitter in recent days, calling for the release of Emirati human rights defender Osama Al-Najjar[1] or to a letter that he signed, along with other activists in the region, calling for the release of all prisoners of conscience in the Middle East ahead of an Arab League Summit scheduled to be held in Jordan on March 29, 2017.

The Observatory expresses its concern regarding the arbitrary arrest and secret detention of Mr. Ahmed Mansoor, and fears that he may be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, due to previous accusations of alleged use of torture and ill treatment by State Security Authority against detainees held in secret locations.

The Observatory calls upon the UAE authorities to guarantee in all circumstances Mr. Ahmed Mansoor’s physical and psychological integrity, as well as to release him immediately and unconditionally, since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to only aim at curtailing his peaceful human rights activities.

Background information:

Following a massive crackdown on human rights defenders in the UAE in recent years, Mr. Ahmed Mansoor is today widely respected as one of the only independent voices still speaking out through his blog and Twitter account against human rights violations from inside the country.

As a result, Mr. Mansoor has faced repeated intimidation, harassment, and death threats from the UAE authorities or their supporters, including arrest and imprisonment in 2011 following an unfair trial. Although pardoned and released later that year, the UAE authorities have arbitrarily imposed a travel ban on him and have refused to return his passport, which they have confiscated since 2011.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the United Arab Emirates asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Ahmed Mansoor and all human rights defenders in UAE;

ii. Release Mr. Ahmed Mansoor immediately and unconditionally, since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to only aim at curtailing his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Ahmed Mansoor and all human rights defenders in UAE;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 6(a), and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the United Arab Emirates.

Addresses:

· Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Fax: +971 4 330 4044, Email: info@primeminister.ae, Twitter: @HHShkMohd
· Minister of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Fax: +971 2 402 2762 / +971 2 441 5780, Twitter: @SaifBZayed
· Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Fax: +971 2 668 6622, Twitter: @MBZNews
· H.E. Mr. Obaid Salem Saeed Al Zaabi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41.22.734.556. E-mail: genevaunprm@mofaic.gov.ae
· H.E. Mr. Mohamed Issa Hamad Abushahab, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdom of Belgium, Fax: 02 646 24 73, E-mail: consbruxelles@mofa.gov.ae / media.bruxelles@mofa.gov.ae, Twitter: @UAEEmbassyBruss

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of UAE in your respective country.
***
Geneva-Paris, March 20, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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