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- 08/15/16--03:38: _UN Rapporteur Very ...
- 08/15/16--04:47: _Letter: UK must que...
- 08/15/16--05:33: _Bahrain: Gov’t Pros...
- 08/16/16--01:20: _UN rights experts u...
- 08/16/16--01:26: _Boris Johnson urged...
- 08/17/16--01:46: _Bahrain authorities...
- 08/17/16--02:00: _Tortured and trappe...
- 08/18/16--00:16: _Bahraini Authoritie...
- 08/18/16--01:38: _The Bahrain 13: One...
- 08/18/16--01:43: _How Did “Bahrain Wa...
- 08/19/16--01:52: _Bahrain Detains Lea...
- 08/19/16--07:33: _Opinions Are Not Cr...
- 08/20/16--21:53: _Bahraini Women Unde...
- 08/22/16--01:44: _Stop the War Coalit...
- 08/22/16--01:47: _Member in UK Parlia...
- 08/22/16--03:33: _Bahrain’s New Order
- 08/22/16--03:55: _Nabeel Rajab's lawy...
- 08/22/16--10:53: _In the Firing Line:...
- 08/23/16--01:14: _Bahrain: Authoritie...
- 08/23/16--01:26: _UK Journalist to Ba...
- 08/15/16--04:47: Letter: UK must question Bahrain’s record on press freedom
Immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman, and release Dr. Taha Al-Derazi, and all currently detained human rights defenders including Nabeel Rajab;
Stop all reprisal actions against human rights defenders who work with the UN mechanisms and allow them to work freely; and
Cease the attack on peaceful protests and allow peaceful assembly and expression to take place without reprisal.
- 08/16/16--01:20: UN rights experts urge Bahrain to end the persecution of Shias
- Immediately and unconditionally release all Shia clerics and religious figures detained on charges related to free expression, assembly, association, and/or religious belief;
- Halt all forms of discrimination against the Bahraini Shia community;
- Reinstate the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim and all others who have been targeted with denaturalization for their activism; and
- Cease attacks on peaceful protests and allow peaceful assembly and expression to take place without reprisal.
- 08/19/16--01:52: Bahrain Detains Leading Neurosurgeon
- 08/19/16--07:33: Opinions Are Not Crimes - BCHR Event on 1 September in Copenhagen
- To follow the CEDAW Committee’s recommendations and modify or repeal all discriminatory legislation regarding women and introduce a reform process;
- To annul and withdraw the respective regulations and make it possible for all Bahraini citizens, women and men, to exercise their fundamental right to freedom of religion; and
- To take up and implement measures that ensure compliance of Bahrain’s obligations with international treaties such as the ICCPR and the CEDAW.
- 08/22/16--03:33: Bahrain’s New Order
- Release Ghada Jamsheer immediately and allow her to enter and leave Bahrain freely;
- Immediately revoke all the regulations that restrict and impede basic human rights and freedoms stipulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and
- Immediately cease targeting activists and human rights defenders in all cases that contravene international law.
- 08/23/16--01:14: Bahrain: Authorities Targeting Shia clerics
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, expressed deep concern about the Bahraini security authorities' summoning of Head of Religious Freedom unit at the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory, Sheikh Maytham al-Salman.
"I am very concerned by reports that talk about the Bahraini authorities summoning Maitham Salman for interrogation on August 14, 2016, and I am observing this matter closely," he said in a tweet on his official Twitter account.
Continue reading here.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Index on Censorship, and Reporters without Borders have sent an open letter to United Kingdom's foreign secretary Boris Johnson raising concerns about recent statements and records on press freedom of Bahrain’s ambassador to the UK, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s royal family. Between 2010 - 2012, he was president of Bahrain’s information affairs authority (IAA), the state’s media regulator and operator of Bahrain TV and the public news agency.
The letter argues that while he was head of the IAA, Fawaz used his power to restrict press freedom, coinciding with the systematic crackdown on political and civil freedoms by the Bahraini government.
In the letter foreign secretary Johnson is urged to take up the matter with the Bahraini ambassador.
Read the full letter here.
15 August 2016 - Bahrain's authorities today charged with illegal gathering the human rights defender and scholar Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman and activist and medic Dr. Taha Al-Derazi following their arrests and interrogations yesterday. Al-Salman has been released on bail, while Al-Derazi is remanded in custody.
The charges relate to their peaceful assembly in the village of Duraz, which has been blockaded by police since June and has witnessed an escalation in arrests over protests. We strongly condemn the arrest and prosecution of Al-Salman and Al-Derazi for exercising their right to peaceful assembly.
On Sunday, 14 August 2016 at 9 AM, the Bahraini authorities began interrogating Al-Salman and Al-Derazi. The interrogation lasted over twelve hours, before they were detained to be presented to the public prosecution today.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy: “Bahrain’s allies, especially the US and UK, should use their leverage to end this cycle of injustice against peaceful activists. These repressive measures cannot be justified and must not pass without condemnation.”
Both Al-Salman and Al-Derazi are members of the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO) and have actively participated at UN Human Rights Council (HRC) sessions. They were also banned from traveling: Al-Salman’s travel ban was imposed in March 2016, while Al-Derazi was banned from traveling to the UN HRC’s 32nd session in June 2016. Despite the travel ban against him, Al-Salman has been actively reaching out to the international community, and this arrest is seen as a measure to completely stop his activities.
Husain Abdulla, Executive Director, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain: “Bahrain has increased its acts of repression since June. If there are no actions by the international community, then the repression will only continue to worsen. The United States must take the next step and suspend arms sales to Bahrain.”
Also on 14 August, the authorities interrogated at least 20 individuals, including at least three women. The list included human rights defenders and activists, doctors, clerics, and families of victims of extrajudicial killing. The interrogations were carried out over long periods of time ranging between three hours to over ten hours. Bahraini authorities asked these individuals to sign pledges to not participate in the sit-in in Duraz before they were released. The interrogations were focused on their participation in an open-ended sit-in in Duraz which started on 20 June, protesting the authorities’ arbitrary revocation of Sheikh Isa Qasim’s citizenship. Since then, more than 80 protesters were summoned for interrogation, and while many were released, the authorities have remanded more than 20 of the protesters and referred at least eight to court over these charges.
Sayed Yousif Almuhafda, Vice-President, Bahrain Center for Human Rights: “The Government of Bahrain’s harassment of human rights defenders and activist is intended to silence and intimidate free voices. Bahrain’s allies must stop government escalated measures against its people’s fundamental rights.”
We believe that the authorities’ continue to harass human rights defenders Al-Salman and Al-Derazi, because of their activism and cooperation with the UN human rights mechanisms. The Bahraini authorities have been restricting and preventing people from peacefully protesting the escalation of repressive measures against fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as targeting human rights defenders who work with the UN mechanisms to report these violations. We call on the government of Bahrain to:
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy
European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Justice Human Rights Organisation
The systematic harassment of the Shia population by the authorities in Bahrain, including stripping many of them of citizenship, is deeply concerning, a group of United Nations human rights independent experts said today.
“The intensified wave of arrests, detentions, summons, interrogations and criminal charges brought against numerous Shia religious clerics and singers, human rights defenders and peaceful dissidents is having a chilling effect on fundamental human rights,” the human rights experts said.
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Leading press freedom groups have sent a letter to foreign secretary Boris Johnson raising concerns about the human rights record of Bahrain’s ambassador to the UK. They urge Johnson to take up the matter with the ambassador, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammad Al-Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s royal family. He was formerly president of Bahrain’s information affairs authority (IAA), the state’s media regulator and operator of Bahrain TV and the state’s news agency. It also issues licences to journalists.
Read full article here.
16 August 2016 – A group of United Nations independent human rights experts today expressed deep concerns at what they see as “systematic harassment” of the Shia population and religious leaders, including stripping the citizenship of many, by authorities in Bahrain. They also criticized restrictions on movement and travel bans imposed on human rights defenders.
“The intensified wave of arrests, detentions, summons, interrogations and criminal charges brought against numerous Shia religious clerics and singers, human rights defenders and peaceful dissidents is having a chilling effect on fundamental human rights,” the experts said in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
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Tortured and trapped, Bahraini journalist Nazeeha Saeed continues her fight for press freedom.
As has been widely reported and even cited in the independent investigation commissioned by the Bahraini monarchy, award-winning international correspondent Nazeeha Saeed was tortured in police custody in 2011. While summoned for questioning related to her reporting, Saeed was allegedly blindfolded, punched, kicked, beaten with a hose pipe, and subjected to electric shocks. One police officer shoved her head in a toilet and a shoe in her mouth; another poured urine on her face, while a third officer forced her to bray like a donkey and walk like an animal, she claimed. When she was finally released after 13 hours, after being coerced into a false confession, Saeed could barely walk.
Read full article here
The Government of Bahrain has continued to target Shia religious leaders today, as authorities brought an additional charge of “inciting hatred” against Sayed Majeed Misha’al, a Shia cleric and president of the now dissolved Islamic Ulamaa Council (IUC). On 20 June 2016, Sayed Majeed declared the start of a peaceful sit-in at the village of Duraz to protest of the government’s decision to denaturalize Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia population. Sayed Majeed and Sheikh Isa are among at least 56 Shia religious figures and clerics subjected to judicial harassment by Bahraini authorities in the last three months. The undersigned NGO strongly condemn the government’s ongoing persecution of the Bahraini Shia community and call on it to halt all legal proceedings against Shia religious leaders such as Sayed Majeed Misha’al and Sheikh Isa Qassim.
In addition to revoking Sheikh Isa’s citizenship, the Public Prosecution charged Sheikh Isa and two others with alleged money laundering in July. The charges relate solely to the Shia religious practice of khums, an annual payment made by Shia Muslims to Shia clerics for distribution to those in need. The government, however, claims that the charges are not linked to religious practices, alleging instead that Sheikh Isa and other clerics have illegally received foreign funding and have been “withdrawing, depositing, purchasing, allocating, and distributing the amounts in a way that shows that their sources are licit, contrary to the facts/reality.” Critics of the case suggest that the government is creating an opportunity to both target Shia religious leadership and centralize its authority over the khums practice in order to generate profit.
“Khums is a religious obligation for all Shia and is used to assist the community’s most vulnerable, including orphans,” says human rights defender, religious freedoms campaigner, and religious scholar Sheikh Maytham al-Salman. “In the Shia community, khums represents a collective effort to assist those who are less fortunate. It seeks to eliminate poverty and build harmony within society.”
Sheikh Maytham has also recently been the target of Bahraini authorities. On Monday, the government released Sheikh Maytham from custody after charging him with illegal gathering for participating in the peaceful demonstrations in Duraz. He remains under a travel ban. The sit-in continues in Duraz despite the government’s attempts to limit participation by issuing official statements threatening the protesters, blocking entry to the village, restricting internet access, and frequently summoning and arresting those involved.
“The demonstration in Duraz represents the continued commitment of the Bahraini people to peaceful protest and human rights,” stated Husain Abdulla, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Executive Director, “This commitment stands in stark juxtaposition to the Bahraini government’s ongoing violations of free expression, assembly, and association, illustrating the government’s complete unwillingness to reform.”
In response to this recent campaign of intimidation and detention, five United Nations Special Procedures issued a joint statement calling for an end to the “persecution” of Bahrain’s Shia community, noting: “Shias are clearly being targeted on the basis of their religion.”
Bahraini authorities have intensified their targeting of Shia religious leaders to the extent that clerics have suspended Friday prayers for fear of retribution. On 16 June 2016, a number of clerics stated that the “suppression of the Bahraini Shia Muslims had reached its highest level ever, and members of the kingdom’s largest religious community feel insecure and face threats of arrest and prosecution if they seek to observe their religious rituals, primarily congregational prayers and Friday prayers.” Further, Bahraini authorities have physically prevented a number of Shia clerics from reaching their mosques in order to lead prayer gatherings.
“The charges against Shia religious figures and clerics are clear attacks on the right to freedom of religion in Bahrain,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy. “This summer of intimidation and discrimination by the Bahraini government is unprecedented, it further marginalizes the entire Bahraini Shia community, and it must be met with strong international condemnation from Bahrain’s allies such as the US and Britain.”
We, the undersigned NGOs, condemn the campaign of repression initiated by the authorities since June. We call on the Government of Bahrain to:
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy
European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
In August 2015, Index editor Rachael Jolley sent a copy of the magazine to jailed academic Abduljalil al-Singace, a member of the Bahrain 13. One year on, eleven of the group of jailed activists remain in prison.
One year has passed since Index on Censorship magazine editor Rachael Jolley sent a copy of the publication – Fired, Threatened, Imprisoned… Is Academic Freedom Being Eroded? – to jailed Bahraini academic, human rights activist and writer Abduljalil al-Singace to mark his 150 days on hunger strike. Al-Singace’s hunger strike ended on 27 January 2016 after 313 days, but he remains in prison.
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Bill Marczak, a well-known American internet and digital security expert, believes that the Bahraini government's war is stretching from the streets of Diraz to reach the Internet, and that it is seeking at this time to tighten its grip and control everything.
Marczak, based in California, is an expert in Internet Affairs and Digital Security, who is pursuing his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Berkeley. Marczak told "Bahrain Mirror" that the campaign launched by the regime against the Internet is part of the crackdown designed against all sectors, which is in the same context of dissolving al-Wefaq society, and revoking the nationality of Sheikh Isa Qassim.
Read full article here.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Taha Alderazi was due to perform an operation on Tuesday, but instead he was in Bahrain’s Dry Dock prison. He is charged with taking part in an illegal gathering, a charge often brought by the authorities against political opponents and activists in the government’s ongoing targeting of dissidents.
Read full article here.
On September 1, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights will host an event in Copenhagen to cast light on the recent developments and present the case of human rights defenders and BCHR’s president, Nabeel Rajab, who is currently in jail based on charges related to his tweets.
After the screening of the documentary "Bahrain: An Inconvenient Uprising", representatives from various NGOs will give an overview of human rights violations in the MENA region, in the wake of the Arab Spring, particularly focusing on the repression against human rights defenders, peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
A call for civic action will be launched to support the campaign #ReleaseNabeel.
Check the program of the event here.
Read the press release here.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice has issued new regulations deemed discriminatory against Bahraini women, which prevent them from going on Hajj without a male guardian if they are below 45 years’ old. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is alarmed by this new regulation that is a stark violation of women’s rights.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice, Endowments, and Islamic Affairs recently issued a set of new regulations for pilgrims intending to go on Hajj. According to these new regulations, female pilgrims under the age of 45 are now obliged to be accompanied by a guardian, a close male relative such as a husband, father, brother, or son, if travelling to Mecca.
The new regulations constitutes a violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), through which signatory states such as Bahrain commit themselves to undertake and implement measures to end discrimination against women of all kinds. Discrimination is defined as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”
Under the new regulations, Bahraini women become increasingly deprived of their rights of decision-making and their right to free movement since the decision to go on Hajj is no longer up to the women themselves but to their male relatives. Additionally, the new rules impose another obstacle and discrimination, restricting women in their religious freedom. Women of that age group are now either fully dependent on their husband’s or father’s time schedule and willingness, or totally restrained from visiting Islam’s most sacred place of worship in case their male relatives are not able or not willing to accompany them.
This violates Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states that “a citizen also has the right to leave any country, including his [or her] own, and to return to his [or her] country at any time.” It also violates Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to freedom of religion, stating that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his [or her] religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
The new Hajj travel requirements degrade women to second-class citizens, with less freedoms than men, despite constitutional and international provisions for freedom of worship as well as female equality and emancipation, which have also been officially acknowledged by the government of Bahrain. By announcing the new travel regulations and targeting women, the Bahraini government has proved once more that its actions lacks the necessary commitment and efforts to ensure the rights of its citizens.
Based on the abovementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns any kind of paternalism and discrimination of women and restrictions of fundamental religious rights and therefore calls upon the government of Bahrain:
For the past couple of years, London-based Stop the War Coalition has been very active in promoting humanitarian and human rights demands for causes related to the Middle East and the Arab World.
It has also precisely taken part, or even organized, events, marches, and conferences concerning the crackdown in Bahrain launched by the Saudi-backed ruling Al Khalifa family, as well as the Saudi war on Yemen.
Continue reading here.
A member in the UK Parliament called on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to pressure on Bahrain to release the prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.
In a letter to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, MP Margaret Ferrier, the Scottish National Party politician, said that "the United Kingdom should use its influence to call for Mr. Rajab's release."
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The political news emanating from the tiny island kingdom of Bahrain has come fast and frequent this summer, with a series of actions taken by the courts, Parliament, and security forces effectively reshaping the formal political landscape of the country. These actions have dealt perhaps the final blow to the strategy set in the early years of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa’s reign, when opposition politicians were invited back from exile, the Parliament re-established, and the economy reshaped to better integrate a Shia community disproportionately dependent on the private sector for employment.
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On Tuesday (2 August 2016), the Supreme Criminal Court, led by judge Dheyaa Hraidi, with member judges Wajeeh Al-Shaer and Abdul Aziz Al-Jabiri, and secretary Yousif Bu Hardan, refused to release human rights defender Nabeel Rajab; ordered the public prosecution to allow him to be seen by the doctor in the prison clinic; and decided that he should still be detained, on charges of insulting the Minister of Interior, insulting a foreign country, and spreading false news. The court decided that there will be a hearing on 5 September for pleading.
Rajab's lawyers, Jalila Al-Sayed and Mohammed Al-Jishi, both said that there is no evidence that proves that their client is guilty, especially since Rajab denied that the account and the tweets are his and that the account is run by him. The lawyers also said that the electronic devices that were taken from Rajab's house when it was searched twice, also don't include any evidence that indicates that the tweets or the account are his or that the account is run by him. The lawyers demanded that Rajab should be released, due to his health condition, especially since he is still in solitary confinement. The lawyers gave the court a document from the doctor about Rajab's health.
In this hearing, there were representatives of the American embassy, British embassy, French embassy, as well as other embassies.
In a previous hearing, Rajab denied the charges, which include the following allegations: during March 2015, he deliberately spread false news and rumors in a time of war, which caused damage to the military operations in which the Bahraini military were involved; he insulted foreign countries; as well as insulting the Ministry of Interior and the Reform and Rehabilitation Directorate.
The defense said: Rajab was interrogated in the public prosecution in April 2015 for two charges based on Article 133: “A punishment of imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years shall be inflicted upon any person who deliberately announces in wartime false or malicious news, statements or rumors or mounts adverse publicity campaigns, so as to cause damage to military preparations for defending the State of Bahrain or military operations of the Armed Forces, to cause people to panic or to weaken the nation's perseverance;” and Article 216: “A person shall be liable for imprisonment or payment of a fine if he offends, by any method of expression the National Assembly, or other constitutional institutions, the army, law courts, authorities or government agencies.”
Today, a third charge was added, based on Article 215: “A punishment of imprisonment for a period of no more than two years or a fine of no more than BD 200 shall be inflicted upon any person who offends in public a foreign country or on international organization based in the State of Bahrain or its president or representative. The same penalty shall apply to a person who offends such organization's flag or official emblem. Legal action in respect of such crime shall not be brought except upon the written request of the Justice Minister.”
The defense talked about the conditions of Rajab's detention: "Since Rajab's arrest, he has been detained in solitary confinement, as the detainee who is with him has memory loss and there is no communication between them." They added: "Family visits are being monitored very closely, which deprives people of any privacy that they can have, as policemen are present in the visitation room."
The defense moved on to talk about Rajab's health condition: "Since his arrest, Rajab lost 8 Kg." He also suffers from kidney stones. He was seen by the prison doctor in Al-Qalaa clinic, and the doctor said the following: Rajab needs to have surgery; he has chronic inflammations in his lower back which needs an urgent surgery; he also suffers from irregular heartbeat, which, since his arrest, decreased below the normal range.
The defense requested that the public prosecution should take into consideration the medical reports, which were taken during Rajab's detention, and present them to the doctors.
The defense also said that Rajab frequently suffers an increase in his heart rate, making him unable to breathe or talk. They also mentioned that his immunity levels have decreased, making him at risk of being easily ill, as the doctor mentioned.
The defense requested that the court releases Rajab, and lifts the travel ban on him, because there are no reasons to continue detaining him, as there is no concern over him tampering with any particular evidence. In addition, the investigation on this case was closed over a year ago, and Rajab was detained before for the same charge from April 2015 until July 2015, and a royal pardon was issued for Rajab, due to his health condition.
The defense added that Rajab was detained since June 2016, as he has been detained since the order to put him on trial was issued in 26 June 2016.
The court allowed Nabeel Rajab to speak. He said that the charges are malicious; that he met with security officials who confirmed to him that this case has been shelved and will not be brought up again, especially since the investigation in this case has stopped for over a year.
Rajab added that, before his arrest, he had many meetings with security officials about opening a new page, building trust, bringing different viewpoints close to each other, and keeping away from clashing; but he was shocked with his arrest that was 10 days after the last meeting he had, linked to some television interviews that he had a year and a half ago, in addition to putting him on trial regarding this charge.
Nabeel Rajab said: "I have been a human rights defender for 20 years, and as a Bahraini, I am interested in human rights issues. I worked on documenting some of the actions of the Bahraini authorities, which I see as violations of human rights, but unfortunately this led to me being targeted by the authorities in Bahrain. Seven cases were filed and this is the eighth, and all of them are related to my work as a human rights defender." He refused to answer questions about allegations attributed to him, and then he answered the last question by denying the charges of which he is being accused.
Read the Arabic version of this article here.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is deeply concerned about the recent repressive steps of the Bahraini government, particularly against women human rights defenders. We condemn in the strongest terms the actions undertaken by the authorities and call for reconciliation.
In its most recent attempt to impede and restrict the work of human rights defenders in Bahrain, the government of Bahrain imposed a travel ban on Enas Oun, head of BCHR’s Monitoring and Documentation Section. This morning, 22 August 2016, while on her way to a human rights workshop in Tunisia, she was stopped by Bahraini authorities at Bahrain International Airport. The authorities informed her that she cannot travel based on an order issued by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on the previous day, 21 August 2016. BCHR believes that by enforcing such bans, the government of Bahrain continues its attempts to impede human rights advocacy, clamp down on activists and restrict their movements.
Another woman human rights defender who was targeted by the authorities is Ghada Jamsheer, who is a writer, blogger and President of the Women’s Petition Committee (WPC), a network of female human rights defenders in Bahrain, campaigning for reform of Bahrain’s family laws. On 15 August 2016, Bahraini authorities arrested and detained Jamsheer upon her arrival to Bahrain International Airport from London. As of today, she has not been released nor allowed any direct contact with her family or lawyer. On 22 June 2016, a Bahraini court upheld a one-year sentence against Jamsheer over charges related to remarks she made on the social media website Twitter, regarding corruption by members of Bahrain’s ruling family in one of the government-run hospitals.
It is not the first time, that Jamsheer has been targeted by Bahraini authorities. She has been effectively banned from all national media and her online blog has been blocked in Bahrain since 2009. Jamsheer was previously arrested and detained in September 2014 for over three months for charges of defamation via Twitter in the same case. A few months later, in March 2015, the authorities imposed a travel ban on her, after she attempted to fly to France to receive medical treatment. In June 2015, Jamsheer, was also sentenced in the defamation case to one year and eight months in prison for tweeting about corruption at King Hamad hospital.
Other victims of the government’s crackdown on women human rights defenders is the journalist, human rights defender, and torture survivor Nazeeha Saeed. Saeed was banned from traveling in June 2016, The authorities summoned her for interrogation about her media work, accusing her of allegedly lacking the necessary governmental authorisation and was eventually fined the equivalent of USD$2,650.
Earlier this year, activist Zainab Al-Khawajawas arrested and detained together with her 15-months old son. Although she was released on 31 May 2016 on "humanitarian grounds" following international pressure, she was reportedly threatened with indefinite detention if she did not leave the country. She was eventually forced into exile in Denmark in June 2016. Zainab as well as her sister Maryam Al-Khawaja have been previously arrested and sentenced to jail terms by Bahraini authorities.
BCHR believes that the government of Bahrain is attempting to clamp down on human rights defenders and restrict their movements and means of advocacy. In recent months, this has resulted in extended media control and censorship, an increased amount of travel bans and revoked citizenships, as well as the accompanying repression and use of excessive force. Women defenders have been one of the main groups to be targeted by the authorities. Jamsheer, Oun, Al-Khawaja and Saeed are only a few women whom have been subjected to violations of their rights and freedoms. Currently, there are four women in detention over politically motivated charges, which are related to freedom of expression.
BCHR affirms that the measures and sentence against the aforementioned women human rights defenders is in direct violation of their right to freedom of expression and their right to free movement. Therefore BCHR calls upon the authorities to:
Bahraini authorities are targeting Shia clerics in a systematic campaign of harassment that violates their rights to freedom of assembly and speech, and to religious freedom, Human Rights Watch said today.
On August 18, 2016, a Bahraini court convicted Sheikh Ali Humaidan of “illegal gathering” and sentenced him to one year in prison for his involvement in peaceful gatherings in the village of Diraz outside the home of the spiritual leader of an opposition group, who was arbitrarily stripped of his citizenship in June. Human Rights Watch has spoken to four Shia clerics who said that authorities have charged them with illegal gathering over their involvement in the protest and another three who said they were questioned.
Read full article here.
On the sidelines of "The International Conference in Support of the Yemeni People", journalists and activists shared their views on the current situation in Yemen and countries of the Gulf region, including Bahrain.
Among the participants in the conference was British journalist Mohammad Ali Carter, who during the past couple of months went deep into the Yemeni conflict while working on a documentary about the Saudi Arabian regime for the London-based Ahlulbayt TV.
"I've been looking into the Yemen conflict in the past couple of months in preparation for a documentary which we did, which focused on Saudi Arabia as a regime, its history, what it's doing now, and what its potential future could be," said Carter in an exclusive interview with Bahrain Mirror.
Continue Reading here.