Ahmed Mansoor

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Ahmed Mansoor Al Shehhi EFF.png

Ahmed Mansoor Al Shehhi is an Emirati activist who was arrested as one of the UAE Five in April 2011 on charges of breaking United Arab Emirates law of defamation by insulting heads of state, namely UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, vice president Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan through running an anti-government website that express anti-government views. He was pardoned by UAE's president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.[1]

In 2015, Mansoor received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.[1]

Mansoor was arrested again in March 2017 on charges of using social media platforms to threaten public order and publish false and misleading information. He was found guilty and convicted for threatening state security and given a prison sentence of 10 years.


Following his pardon, Mansoor was monitored in 2013–2014 by the UAE government using mobile phone spyware developed by the NSO Group.[2][3] around the same time had his passport confiscated, his car stolen, his email hacked, his location tracked, his bank account emptied, and was beaten by strangers twice in the same week.[2]

Around 2016–2017, Mansoor was targeted again by UAE contractor DarkMatter.[3] This occurred under Project Raven, a clandestine surveillance and hacking operation targeting other governments, militants, and human rights activists critical of the UAE monarchy, which came to light in January 2019.[4] Ahmed Mansoor was code named "Egret" in Project Raven, while another main target, Rori Donaghy, was code named "Gyro".[4] By June 2017, Project Raven had hacked into mobile device of Mansoor’s wife, Nadia, and given her the code name "Purple Egret".[4]


Mansoor was detained again in March 2017, accused of using social media platforms to "publish false and misleading information".[5][6] UN human rights experts considered his arrest and imprisonment "a direct attack on the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the UAE".[7] In March 2018, after over a year of detention, much of it in solitary confinement, he was sentenced to ten years in prison and fined 1,000,000 Emirati dirham.[8]

In April 2019, the Human Rights Watch raised concerns over Mansoor’s deteriorating health due to his hunger strike, which he started a month back to protest against his unjust imprisonment. The organization called for his urgent release.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ahmed Mansoor". Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b "A New Age of Warfare: How Internet Mercenaries Do Battle for Authoritarian Governments". The New York Times. 2019-03-21. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  3. ^ a b "Takeaways From The Times's Investigation Into Hackers for Hire". The New York Times. 2019-03-21. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  4. ^ a b c Inside the UAE’s secret hacking team of American mercenaries, by Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman, January 30, 2019, Reuters
  5. ^ Perraudin, Frances (16 April 2018). "Manchester campaigners want street named after Emirati activist". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  6. ^ "UN experts call on UAE to free activist". BBC News Online. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  7. ^ "UN rights experts urge UAE: "Immediately release Human Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor"". Geneva: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  8. ^ "UAE: Activist Ahmed Mansoor sentenced to 10 years in prison for social media posts". Amnesty International. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  9. ^ "UAE: Free Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 12 April 2019.