DUBAI (Dispatches) – Emirati political prisoner Ahmed Mansoor has been in solitary confinement since his arrest in 2017, cut off from the outside world as well as fellow prisoners, letters penned by the detainee and obtained by the Arabi21 news website have revealed.
Mansoor is serving a 10-year sentence on charges relating to his human rights activism, including “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols including its leaders” and “seeking to damage the relationship of the UAE with its neighbors by publishing false reports and information on social media”.
The letters, dated November 2020 and published on Friday by Arabi21, paint a grim image of Mansoor’s conditions in jail.
His phone privileges and visitation rights are severely restricted. Prison guards have stripped his cell bare, confiscating his clothes, mattress, blankets and towels - leaving Mansoor with one shirt whose sleeves had been ripped off.
In his letters, Mansoor said he suspects the charges against him stemmed from emails he sent to NGOs and conferences in which he participated.
He has publicly criticized arbitrary arrests in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Mansoor, however, was only given the right to exercise and see sunlight times a week.
“I am still officially prohibited from talking to other prisoners, although sometimes I scream through the walls to the people in the neighboring cells when there is someone there,” he wrote.
“Even when I go to the clinic, it gets emptied from prisoners to ensure that I am alone, and when I go to the gym, no one else is allowed to be there except me.”
Prison guards also stripped Mansoor’s cell bare and confiscated his clothes, mattress, blankets and towels, leaving him with one shirt whose sleeves had been ripped off, according to the letters.
“What’s worse, they cut off hot water from my cell during the extremely cold winter in the desert,” the letters added.
A group of UN human rights experts in 2019 condemned the Emirati activist’s prolonged imprisonment, warning his dire conditions may amount to torture.