Alert: Afghanistan one year on: open season on the defence of human rights
United Arab Emirates
Urgent Interventions

Arrest and detention in a secret location of Mr. Ahmed Mansoor

ARE 001 / 0317 / OBS 030

Detention in a secretlocation /

Risk of torture andill-treatment

United Arab Emirates

March 20, 2017

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in thefollowing situation in the UnitedArab Emirates (UAE).

Description of thesituation:

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

According to the informationreceived, on March 20, 2017 around midnight, Mr. AhmedMansoor was arrested at his home in Ajman by alleged members of UAEsecurity forces, including 10 men and two women, and taken to an unknownlocation.

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

The Observatoryexpresses its concern regarding the arbitrary arrest and secret detention ofMr. AhmedMansoor, and fears that he may be at risk of tortureand other ill-treatment, due to previous accusations of alleged use oftorture and ill treatment by State Security Authority against detainees held insecret locations.

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


Following a massive crackdown onhuman rights defenders in the UAE in recent years, Mr. Ahmed Mansoor is todaywidely respected as one of the only independent voices still speaking outthrough his blog and Twitter account against human rights violations frominside the country.

As a result, Mr. Mansoor has facedrepeated intimidation, harassment, and death threats from the UAE authoritiesor their supporters, including arrest and imprisonment in 2011 following anunfair trial. Although pardoned and released later that year, the UAEauthorities have arbitrarily imposed a travel ban on him and have refused toreturn his passport, which they have confiscated since 2011.

Actions requested:

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

i. Guarantee in allcircumstances 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 isarbitrary as it seems to only aim at curtailing his human rights activities;

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

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

v. Ensure in allcircumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordancewith international human rights standards and international instrumentsratified by the United Arab Emirates.


· Prime Minister of the United ArabEmirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Fax: +971 4 330 4044,Email:, Twitter:@HHShkMohd

· Minister of the Interior of the United ArabEmirates, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Fax: +971 2 402 2762 / +971 2 441 5780,Twitter: @SaifBZayed

· Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, SheikhMohammed 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:

· H.E. Mr. Mohamed Issa HamadAbushahab,Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdomof Belgium, Fax: 02 646 24 73, E-mail: /, Twitter: @UAEEmbassyBruss

Please also writeto the diplomatic missions or embassies of UAE in your respective country.


Geneva-Paris, March 20, 2017

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

The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programmeis to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, theEuropean Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by internationalcivil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail:Appeals[at]

· Teland fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 143 55 18 80

[1] For more information, see

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