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UAE

    December 31, 2018

    Responding to today’s decision by the Federal Supreme Court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to uphold the conviction and 10-year prison term of prominent Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said:

    “Today’s court decision to uphold Ahmed Mansoor’s conviction and 10-year prison sentence confirms there is no space for free expression in the United Arab Emirates.”

    “Ahmed Mansoor’s only ‘crime’ was to express his peaceful opinions on social media, and it is outrageous that he is being punished with such a heavy prison sentence. This is a final verdict and cannot be appealed. Instead of punishing Ahmed Mansoor for daring to express his opinions, the authorities must ensure his conviction and sentence are quashed and release him immediately and unconditionally.”

    December 20, 2018
    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 183/15 HERE

    Dr Nasser bin Ghaith’s health has severely deteriorated. The prominent Emirati economist and academic has been on hunger strike for over 70 days in al-Razeen prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to protest the detention conditions and the denial of access to medical care. He is a prisoner of conscience. 

    December 20, 2018
    DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF UA 183/15 HERE

    Dr Nasser bin Ghaith’s health has severely deteriorated. The prominent Emirati economist and academic has been on hunger strike for over 70 days in al-Razeen prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to protest the detention conditions and the denial of access to medical care. He is a prisoner of conscience. 

    December 20, 2018

    Dr Nasser bin Ghaith’s health has severely deteriorated. The prominent Emirati economist and academic has been on hunger strike for over 70 days in al-Razeen prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to protest the detention conditions and the denial of access to medical care. He is a prisoner of conscience. 

    December 20, 2018

    The authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must immediately and unconditionally release Dr Nasser bin Ghaith, a prisoner of conscience whose health has deteriorated sharply in recent days, said Amnesty International today.

    Dr Nasser bin Ghaith is serving a 10-year sentence for criticizing the UAE in comments posted on Twitter after a grossly unfair politically motivated trial.

    “News that Dr Nasser bin Ghaith’s health has deteriorated sharply leaving him too weak to stand up and causing him to start losing his eyesight, is deeply alarming. He is a prisoner of conscience and should not even be behind bars let alone serving a ludicrous 10-year sentence based on a deeply flawed trial,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director.

    “Instead of prolonging his suffering the Emirati authorities should order his immediate and unconditional release. Until then, they must ensure he is granted any medical care that he requires.”

    November 26, 2018

    Responding to news that the detained British student Matthew Hedges has received a pardon in the UAE, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

    “This is a huge relief and goes some way to righting a wrong after Matthew’s grossly unfair trial. Now Matthew needs to be speedily released and allowed to return to the UK.

    “Matthew should never have been jailed after such an unfair process, and he should never have been held in the miserable conditions of solitary confinement. A pardon doesn’t make up for this injustice.

    “Today’s news is a tribute to the tireless efforts of Matthew’s wife Daniela, who has bravely pushed the UK Government into taking action.

    “Matthew’s ordeal is a reminder that the UAE is a deeply repressive country which ruthlessly suppresses free speech and peaceful criticism, and we should spare a thought for Emirati prisoners of conscience like Ahmed Mansoor or Mohammed al-Roken who aren’t getting a pardon today.

    November 21, 2018

    British national Matthew Hedges convicted of ‘spying’ in relation to his academic study

    ‘This is clearly an unsound conviction’ - Devin Kenney

    Commenting on news that Matthew Hedges, the British PhD student detained in the United Arab Emirates, has been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of spying, Amnesty International’s UAE researcher, Devin Kenney, said:

    “This is jarring and terrible news.

    “We’ve always had the gravest concerns about this case - from the long period that Matthew Hedges was in detention without access to a lawyer, the supposed confession in detention, and now the ludicrously short trial hearing today.

    “The proceedings against him have been grossly unfair and this is clearly an unsound conviction.

    “Mathew Hedges must be afforded his right to fair trial proceedings; otherwise, the UAE has no right to hold him and he should be released without delay.

    November 19, 2018

    Ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand-Prix, which is set to take place between 23 and 25 November, the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) must step up to the modern image they want to project and unconditionally release all those who have been detained solely for peacefully criticizing the government.

    “As the world tunes in to watch the final race of the Formula One Grand-Prix season and attend glitzy music concerts, they should know that the UAE authorities have also been racing to silence critics and human rights defenders,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director.

    Since 2011, the UAE authorities have embarked on a ruthless crackdown targeting human rights defenders, judges, lawyers, academics, students and journalists, in their efforts to stamp out dissent in the country. Many have been subjected to arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and unfair trials. As a result, critics and dissidents in the UAE are serving lengthy prison sentences simply for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.

    October 30, 2018

    ‘Matthew wouldn’t be the first person to be arrested in the UAE on baseless grounds’ - Kate Allen

    Responding to news that Matthew Hedges, the British PhD student detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been released on bail over spying charges made against him earlier this month, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

    “This is obviously good news, but we remain worried that - as with numerous other cases in the UAE in the past - Matthew could still be facing an unfair trial on spurious charges.

    “Matthew wouldn’t be the first person to be arrested in the UAE on baseless grounds.

    “If Matthew has been charged with espionage simply for having conducted academic research into the country’s security services, he should be released immediately. The authorities should also drop all the charges against him.”

    For more information, please contact:

    Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English):  +1 613-744-7667 ext. 236; lscholey@amnesty.ca

    October 05, 2018

    Responding to a European Parliament resolution condemning the harassment, persecution and detention of prominent human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in May 2018 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, said:

    “The European Parliament has sent a strong message which should propel the international community to step up pressure on the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor and other prisoners of conscience. Ahmed Mansoor has been ruthlessly persecuted for exercising his right to freedom of expression, and his unlawful imprisonment is a chilling warning about the dire state of human rights in the UAE.

    “We are particularly concerned about the UAE authorities’ refusal to make details about his case public. It’s only now that we know Ahmed Mansoor has appealed his unlawful conviction and sentencing for the social media posts he made, and that he is allegedly being held in al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi. The authorities must ensure transparency over his appeal and about his whereabouts.

    May 31, 2018

    The jailing of a prominent human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for posts he made on Facebook and Twitter is a devastating blow to freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    Ahmed Mansoor was this week sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 1,000,000 Emirati Dirham (approximately USD $270,000) for posts he made on social media.

    “Ahmed Mansoor is one of the few openly critical voices in the UAE, and his persecution is another nail in the coffin for human rights activism in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.

    “The decision to lock up Ahmed Mansoor for the next 10 years for simply sharing his opinion on social media is what causes the real damage to the UAE’s reputation and so-called ‘social harmony’, not Ahmed Mansoor’s peaceful activism.

    “Ahmed is a prisoner of conscience who has been targeted, tried and sentenced for using Facebook and Twitter to share his thoughts. He should never have been charged in the first place and now he must be released immediately.”

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    April 20, 2017

    (Beirut, 20 April 2017) – Authorities in the United Arab Emirates should immediately release Ahmed Mansoor, an award-winning human rights defender who is facing charges that violate his right to freedom of expression, a coalition of 18 human rights organizations said today, one month after his arrest.

    March 29, 2017

    In response to the sentencing today of human rights defender Dr Nasser bin Ghaith at the Federal Appeal Court in Abu Dhabi Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at the organization’s Beirut office said:

    “Today’s sentencing of prominent economist, academic and human rights defender Dr Nasser bin Ghaith to 10 years in prison is yet another devastating blow for freedom of expression in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). By imposing this ludicrous sentence in response to his peaceful tweets, the authorities have left no room for doubt: those who dare to speak their minds freely in the UAE today risk grave punishment.

    “Dr Nasser bin Ghaith is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned for the peaceful expression of his conscientiously held beliefs. He should never have been forced to spend a single minute behind bars, let alone 10 years. He has already been forcibly disappeared, held in secret detention for months and subjected to beatings and deliberate sleep deprivation. He is another victim of the UAE’s repressive crackdown on dissent, which also saw the prominent human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor arrested last week.”

    March 20, 2017

    Following the arrest of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor at 3:15AM local time after a lengthy room-by-room search of his apartment, Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, said:

    “Amnesty International is appalled and dismayed at this surprise overnight raid resulting in the arrest of Ahmed Mansoor, a courageous and prominent human rights defender in the United Arab Emirates.

    “We believe Ahmed Mansoor was detained for the peaceful expression of his conscientiously held beliefs, and we call for his immediate and unconditional release.”

    At around midnight, 10 male and two female uniformed security officials stormed the family’s apartment and carried out a lengthy room-by-room search, including of the children’s bedroom. They confiscated electronic devices and took Ahmed Mansoor away at around 3:15AM local time. They did not inform his wife where he was being taken.

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