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HRW warns of deteriorated health of detained UAE activist Ahmed Mansoor

December 17, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Political activist Ahmed Mansoor, 21 March 2017 [Nicholas McGeehan/Twitter]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday warned of the grave risk facing the health of Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor who has been detained in solitary confinement for more than three years.

In a joint statement, HRW and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) said 51-year-old Mansoor was diagnosed with hypertension in 2018 but has not been given medication to treat the condition, putting him at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The two organisations quoted well-informed sources as saying that the authorities have forced him to sleep on the floor without a bed or mattress in a small isolation cell.

“In 2019, Mansoor embarked on two hunger strikes to demand basic prisoner rights, including an end to solitary confinement and access to necessities,” the statement said, explaining that his second hunger strike, which lasted for around 45 days and during which he lost 11 kilogrammes, raised fears for his health and prompted global calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

The two organisations called on the Emirati authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, end his solitary confinement, and provide him with the necessary medicines, winter clothes, blankets, mattress and a bed.

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In March 2017, Emirati authorities arrested Mansoor and sentenced him to ten years in jail for “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols” over his peaceful call for political reform in the country.

United Nations human rights experts, the European Parliament and rights groups such as Amnesty International  are among those to have urged the UAE to release Mansoor and condemned his detention as a violation of freedom of expression and opinion.