Poor detention conditions of UAE activist Ahmed Mansoor may 'constitute torture', UN rights experts say
Prominent United Arab Emirates (UAE) campaigner Ahmed Mansoor could be living under conditions amounting to "torture", including prolonged solitary confinement, UN human rights experts said on Tuesday.
Mansoor, 49, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year, accused of spreading "misinformation" in posts on Twitter and Facebook.
His trial was held in near total secrecy, but state media accused the award-winning activist of using social media to push "false information and rumours" and "tendentious ideas that would sow sedition, sectarianism and hatred", as well as harming "national unity" and the UAE's reputation.
Mansoor is one of the most prominent human rights activists in the UAE.
He was part of a group of activists known a the UAE Five who called for democratic rights in the Gulf nation and were arrested in April 2011.
While he was released later that year after a presidential pardon, Emirati authorities confiscated his passport and banned him from leaving the country.
As well as criticising the UAE for its detention of other activists, Mansoor had also used social media to draw attention to rights violations committed by the Saudi-led coalition at war in Yemen, of which the UAE is an active member.
Independent UN rights experts are "gravely concerned" for Mansoor's physical well-being, they said on Tuesday, urging Emirati authorities to allow him access to adequate medical care and ensure detention conditions meet the minimum UN standards.
These conditions could "constitute torture", the experts claimed according to Reuters, adding that Mansoor had been subject to prolonged periods of solitary confinement.
Mansoor's family has not been able to regularly visit him to check on his health, Lebanon-based Gulf Center for Human Rights (GC4HR), of which Mansoor is a board member, said.
Mansoor began a hunger strike in protest against his detention conditions and how his trial was conducted on 17 March.
He has now ended the hunger strike, according to GC4HR.
The UN rights experts have urged the UAE to either offer Mansoor a retrial or release him.