Once again, the appalling human rights record of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been criticised by an international figure.
Former U.N. human rights commissioner Mary Robinson has said, during a visit to Dubai, that UAE should free Ahmed Mansoor, jailed over four years ago for criticising Emirati authorities.
Rights groups have said that Mansoor, who is serving a 10-year sentence, may be suffering treatment amounting to torture. The UAE has denied mistreating him.
“He is regarded by the human rights community as a brave human rights defender”, Robinson said. His release “would be a timely move also called for by the parliament of the European Union”, the Irish Robinson added.
Mansoor, the Emirates’ best-known human-rights defender, remains imprisoned after over four years of appalling treatment at the hands of the Emirati authorities.
Mansoor, an engineer by profession, was arrested in May 2017 and was thereafter denied access to a lawyer for over a year.
In May 2018 he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, for insulting the “status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols”, as the court ruled.
Subsequently, the UAE’s highest court upheld that first decision. Mansoor is a father of four.
Mansoor’s mistreatment was recognised as such by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in May 2019. At the time, UN experts said, “Mr Mansoor has been kept in solitary confinement, and in conditions of detention that violate basic international human rights standards and which risk taking an irrevocable toll on Mr Mansoor’s health”.
Robinson’s remarks are only the latest criticism from international institutions of the UAE. The US State Department’s 2021 Country Report on Human Rights Practices noted that Emirati state agencies were responsible for “torture in detention; arbitrary arrest and detention, including incommunicado detention”.