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UAE Prisoners of Conscience Update - 9 August 2023

Ahmed Mansoor

Our Chair and Secretary participated in an online meeting and video vigil on 9 August 2023 in support of Ahmed Mansoor, one of two prisoners of conscience from the UAE directly supported by Amnesty.

As some of you may recall, Manu Luksch has made a film featuring Ahmed Mansoor that she is updating with recent news about the UAE. On the 9th, the group dedicated six minutes in thought to Ahmed, who is spending his sixth year in solitary confinement. By participating, the group showed that there are so many who will not forget, and not give up. The six minutes were recorded and will be included in an updated documentary about Ahmed Mansoor.

Dr Mohammed al-Roken

Dr al-Roken, a professor of human rights law, remains in prison 'for counselling' even though his ten year sentence has been served. The original sentence arose from his work in helping other human rights defenders.

Sutton Amnesty has been pressing for urgent action on Dr al-Roken. To date the group has had no firm evidence of any direct action being taken by the British Government.  We are querying their ambiguous statements as to whether they will lobby on Dr al-Roken's behalf. This is disappointing, given James Cleverly's encouraging statements to the effect that the British Government will not shy from using its leverage in cases of human rights abuses.

The forthcoming COP 28 in the UAE (30 November to 12 December) represents an opportunity to highlight the cases of UAE political prisoners. Sutton Amnesty are working on this with other groups. We also benefit from new contacts made at the June event at the UAE embassy which the group attended: Sima Watling (who works for the Amnesty International Secretariat and Alma Rinaldi (new Amnesty UK Country coordinator), in both cases with responsibility for the UAE. Sima is now a member of Sutton Amnesty.

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