Leaked letters describe mistreatment of Ahmed Mansour in UAE jails – Middle East Monitor

Leaked letters written by United Arab Emirates detained human rights activist Ahmed Mansour, 51, reveal that he has been in solitary confinement since his arrest on March 15, 2017. He is under strict security surveillance.

Initially, nine charges were laid against Mansour, but that figure was reduced to six when he went to court. They include:

1-Join a terrorist organization that aims to undermine the security and interests of the State, with reference to the Geneva human rights organization Al-Karama.

Mansour noted in the letters that this accusation was based on his participation in a Twitter campaign on arbitrary detention in Saudi Arabia organized by Al-karama, adding that his involvement in the case consisted of a photo of him holding a paper, on which he wrote in Arabic and English: “Saudi Arabia without arbitrary arrest”.

He also indicated that the authorities found an e-mail sent by an employee of Al-Karama inquiring about the case of Osama Al-Najjar and the United Arab Emirates94. He replied “that Skype would be appropriate to discuss the case, and the court acquitted [me] of this accusation. “

2- Publish false information claiming that the United Arab Emirates practices oppression and abuse against its people and violates their rights, which would increase conflicts and hatred and disturb public order.

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Mansour noted that “this accusation is linked to the posting or reposting of tweets on human rights topics, such as arbitrary detention, secret prisons and some public prisons, in particular Al Prison. -Razeen, travel bans and revocation of citizenship; In addition to tweets about the decline of freedom of opinion and expression in the UAE, the enactment of many general laws that can be misused against activists and that criminalize internationally recognized rights, including the Human Rights Act. fight against crimes related to information technology, the law on terrorism and certain articles of the Criminal Code.

3- Provide the organizations identified in the surveys with incorrect information that would damage the reputation, prestige and position of the State.

The human rights activist said in this regard that this accusation was based on the fact that he participated via Skype in several conferences in Great Britain and Switzerland, stressing that these participations are published in relation to subjects on laws and freedoms in the Emirates, the status of human rights activists in the country, nationality laws, as well as the speech he gave (via Skype) on the occasion of the Martin Prize Ennals in 2015.

He added that the prosecution based its case on deleted emails addressed to international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Center for Human Rights, in which human rights issues were discussed.

4- Deliberately disseminate false and malicious statements and rumors that may disrupt public safety and harm the public interest.

5- Violate, by the use of public means via the aforementioned accounts, the position of the judges of the Federal Court by claiming that its decisions are unfair.

6- Publish what happened during public court hearings dishonestly and in bad faith, using public means via the aforementioned accounts and a computer platform.

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Mansour stressed that there was no clear reason behind the accusations, but suggested that they could be linked to an email regarding Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith sent to some organizations about his first. court appearance after an enforced disappearance that lasted eight months, alleging that the security services are interfering with the judicial service on the basis of ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers‘, who visited the United Arab Emirates in 2014.

Mansour confirmed that he was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of one million dirhams ($ 272,000) on May 29, 2018, in addition to being placed under surveillance for a period of three years from of the end of his sentence, confiscating all communication. devices used in crimes and the closing of its online accounts.

Details of the trial

Mansour said in his handwritten letters that he recorded details of his court hearings and the various violations he suffered in the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Supreme Court.

He said the first court hearings actually began a year after his arrest on March 14, 2018, and lasted only three minutes because no charges were brought against him. The hearing to appoint a lawyer to defend him has been postponed although the judge accepted Mansour’s request to defend himself and he was given the opportunity to complain about his placement in solitary confinement and the suffering he suffered. had endured.

Mansour recalled the harsh conditions of his isolation during the second court hearing, which also lasted only five minutes due to the absence of the deputy judge. However, he was not heard and the hearing was postponed to May 9, 2018, then, following the request of the delegated lawyer, the hearing was brought forward to April 25.

During this session, the charges against the activist were read. Subsequently, Mansour’s demands regarding the conditions of isolation, telephone contacts with relatives and family visits and a request for a copy of the file and a copy of the relevant laws were reaffirmed. Although the judge promised to answer all of these requests, none of those promises were kept and the case was adjourned until May 9 to hear prosecution witnesses.

At the next session, the witness was present but Mansour had not received the files. Before being able to inform the judge, the witness was removed from his post.

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The judge set a date for the judgment for May 29 and recommended that the defendant receive the details of the case or a copy of the case file. Mansour however confirmed that he did not obtain a copy, but that he saw the file at the prosecutor’s office; and as a result, he sent a defense brief to the prosecution which had no significant impact on the course of the trial.

The first hearing of the case before the Federal Supreme Court (the Court of Cassation) took place on October 29, 2018 and was presided over by Emirati Judge Falah Al-Hajri. During this session, the human rights activist complained about the difficult conditions of his solitary confinement and demanded that he be granted the rights a defendant enjoys, in addition to the rest of the aforementioned demands, including right to obtain a copy of the case file. The session was postponed to November 12.

The detained activist stressed that the second session of the court dealt with cases relating to the conditions of detention of Mansour and his right to obtain a copy of the file; besides the fact that the prison administration prevented him from taking a memorandum which he prepared to defend himself in court.

The case was postponed to November 26 and then postponed to December 10, during which he submitted two defense briefs, while the court decided to set a judgment date for December 24. The judge postponed the trial until December 31 without informing the accused, and the court dismissed the appeal brought by the prosecution and the accused.

Mansour’s detention conditions

Mansour said being held in solitary confinement was extremely difficult for the first two and a half years as he was not allowed to speak to any prisoners, even from a distance.

He recounted what happened on December 14, 2017, when he returned to his cell late at night after the interrogation, only to be surprised that the prison administration entered his cell and confiscated everything from him. his underwear and clothes, leaving him only with a top whose sleeves they had cut off. In addition to this, the mattress the activist slept on and all of his toiletries, including soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and towels, were confiscated. Later, they also took away his papers and pens, before cutting off his hot water supply in the winter.

Mansour pointed out that this caused him to have high blood pressure and made him suffer from a fever.

He believes his property was confiscated because he refused to give security services the password for his Twitter account.

“Two days after the verdict was delivered (or rather delivered) on May 29, 2018, a piece of paper was hung on the door of my cell which read:“ Strictly forbidden to leave the cell except in an emergency or emergency. security order after reviewing branch security information… calls or visits are prohibited except with the approval of the department manager or his deputy, ”added Mansour.

He confirmed that this paper was placed at the door of each cell in which he was held until July 2019.

Two hunger strikes

Mansour noted that he had gone on two hunger strikes to defend his rights as a prisoner, after exhausting all legal and conventional methods. He organized the first strike from March 17 to April 10, 2019 and lost nearly 8.5 kilograms. The second started on September 17 and ended on November 2, 2019, when he lost 11.5 kilograms.

During the strikes, he demanded “the right to telephone like the rest of the detainees, the right to periodic visits, the right to go to the library, the right to exercise and to be exposed to the sun, the right to watch television in the cell, in addition to other necessities related to the mattress, cleaning devices, etc.

Mansour believes the prison administration was slow to respond to his requests, saying he only fulfilled a few of his requests.

“In summary, my situation is almost the same as before the two hunger strikes. I am still in isolation with a door permanently locked and open only to receive meals and water, go to the clinic, receive my purchases, or do some physical exercise. I don’t have a TV, radio or books, newspapers, nail clippers, sneakers, bed, mattresses and they don’t provide me with a shaving kit, although I have the right to buy a razor one year and nine months after I entered the detention center. I was also not allowed to bring the glasses that the doctor had prescribed for me to read in prison.

For years, the UAE has come under fire for imprisoning hundreds of human rights defenders and peaceful politicians over their demands for political reforms that pave the way for democratic elections. The authorities, however, deny any violation of rights and affirm their commitment to respect freedoms.

The opinions expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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