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The New Arab

Rights groups call on UAE to free detained activist Ahmed Mansour

Ahmeed Mansoor has been detained for over 100 days in the UAE [AFP]

Date of publication: 28 June, 2017

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A coalition of activists and public intellectuals called for the immediate and unconditional release of Emirati poet and activist, Ahmed Mansoor on Wednesday.

A group of prominent human rights groups an activists released a joint letter calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor.

Eight organisations and 18 prominent public figures, including US linguist Noam Chomsky and British authour Jonathan Emmett, were among those that lobbied for his release.

Amnesty International, Index on Censorship and PEN International also supported the letter.

The release of the letter marked Mansoor's hundredth day in detention in the United Arab Emirates, where his family say he is being held in solitary confinement.

Mansoor was arrested in March and charged with spreading sectarianism and hatred online, according to the UAE's state news agency.

"These charges relate solely to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and therefore we consider him a prisoner of conscience," the letter said.

"The continuing detention of such a high-profile and internationally respected human rights campaigner is extremely damaging to the UAE government's reputation abroad."

After intially being held at a secret location, Mansoor was transferred to the al-Sadr prison where he his held today.

According to Amnesty, Mansoor's family were allowed a brief supervised visit on April 3.

Mansoor, a member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, was convicted along with five others during the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

He was subsequently released, however remained under the radar of the UAE's intelligence services.

Surveillance of Mansoor has included hacking of his computer and emails, according to Amnesty International.

"In recent years, following a huge crackdown on activists and government critics in the UAE, Ahmed Mansoor was left as the last remaining Emirati human rights defender speaking out about human rights violations in the country," Amnesty said in a statement in March.

"As a result of his peaceful human rights work, he has faced repeated intimidation, harassment, physical assault, and death threats from the UAE authorities or their supporters."

The full list of the letter's signatories is as follows:

Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) 
COJEP International 
Detained in Dubai 
Index on Censorship 
International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE) 
International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) 
Martin Ennals Awards Foundation 
PEN International 
Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington 
Andrew Byles, Garden Court North Chambers 
Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland 
Noam Chomsky, Professor 
Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto 
Jonathan Emmett, Author 
Andy Fitzpatrick, Barrister, Garden Court North Chambers, Manchester 
Cllr David Haigh, Solicitor, UAE torture survivor, Former MD of Leeds United Football Club 
Chris Haughton, Author and illustrator 
Miles Kenyon, Communications Officer, Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto 
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion 
Michael Mansfield, QC 
Bill Marczak, Senior Researcher, Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto 
Fadi Al Qadi, Human Rights, Civil Society, Advocacy and Media Expert 
Chris Riddell, Author, Illustrator and Political Cartoonist at the Observer 
Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith 
Dr. David Wearing, School of Oriental and African Studies 
Pete Weatherby, QC Garden Court North Chambers, Manchester

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