Case History: Ahmed Mansoor
Ahmed Mansoor was one of the initiators of the 3 March 2011 petition that called for democratic reform in the UAE. Shortly, afterwards, he was jailed with four others in connection with the online discussion forum, UAEHewar.net, in what became widely known as the UAE5 case. He was accused of publicly insulting the UAE leadership and was sentenced to three years imprisonments, but released one day after the verdict on presidential pardon after spending nearly eight months in jail.
Since he was jailed in 2011, the authorities have denied him a passport and banned him from travelling.
Ahmed Mansoor is one of the few voices within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who provides a credible independent assessment of human rights developments in the country. He regularly raises concerns on arbitrary detention, torture or ill or degrading treatment, failure to meet international standards for fair trials, non-independence of the judiciary, domestic laws that violate international law, and other violations of civil rights. He has been jailed for his efforts, and is currently unable to travel.
On 17 September 2012, prominent human rights defender Mr Ahmed Mansoor was physically attacked at Ajman University hours after participating via video link in a side-event at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
This is the second targeted attack on Ahmed Mansoor at the university within a week. Ahmed Mansoor is a blogger who has been active in demanding political reform in the UAE.
On 17 September, at approximately 7.45 pm, Ahmed Mansoor sustained injuries to the head, neck and hands when he was attacked by a tall, well-built man wearing a traditional white robe at Ajman University, where he is enrolled as a student. The assailant pulled Ahmed Mansoor to the ground by the neck and proceeded to deliver a series of blows to the head. The attacker fled the scene when passers-by heard the human rights defender's cries for help. Ahmed Mansoor attempted to chase the assailant, but his path was obstructed by another individual. Both individuals made their getaway in a car, which was parked in the same location as the car of the individual who carried out the previous attack six days earlier.
After visiting the doctor and obtaining a medical report, Ahmed Mansoor reported the incident at a police station in Ajman. During the attack, one part of the assailant's robe, which is similar to a tie, fell off, and the human rights defender brought this to the police station.
Earlier on 17 September 2012, Ahmed Mansoor had participated via video link in a side-event entitled “Waging War on Human Rights: Ongoing Crackdown in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia” at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
On 11 September 2012, Ahmed Mansoor was attacked at Ajman University. The human rights defender, who sustained bruising to the arm, knees and foot during the attack, later reported the attack at Al-Humaidiah Police Center in Ajman.
Over the past few weeks, Ahmed Mansoor has also been the target of a smear campaign led by the administrators of a prominent pro-government Twitter account which has focused on his cooperation with international NGOs and his participation in the side-event. The smear campaign depicts him as a traitor who is collaborating with Iran who should be hung from a lamppost.
Ahmed Mansoor and four other UAE human rights defenders, widely known as the “UAE 5”, were charged in June 2011 with publicly insulting the country’s top officials, after they posted statements which did no more than criticize government policy or political leaders. Ahmed Mansoor was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison before being released following a presidential amnesty marking the UAE national day in November 2011.
Human rights defenders in the UAE face grave risks as they try to carry out their work in a hostile environment. Those criticising government policies or exposing human rights violations are often considered security threats and are regularly targeted by government agencies, including the police and other security services, which play a major role in the suppression of the work of human rights defenders. The smear campaign launched against Ahmed Mansoor is part of a consistent crackdown on human rights defenders, pro-reform activists and their family members, of whom 61 are currently detained.
Front Line Defenders condemns the attack on Ahmed Mansoor and is deeply concerned for his physical and psychological security. Given the history of harassment and intimidation, Front Line Defenders believes that the attack may be motivated by Ahmed Mansoor's legitimate activities in the defence of human rights.