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- 10/03/16--03:33: _One Torturer to Ano...
- 10/04/16--02:00: _Bahrain top court r...
- 10/05/16--01:44: _Serious concerns ov...
- 10/05/16--03:36: _HRW: Why No Outcry ...
- 10/06/16--00:42: _Nabeel Rajab's Tria...
- 10/06/16--01:21: _U.S. Government Urg...
- 10/06/16--07:47: _Courts Postpone Sen...
- 10/07/16--02:28: _BCHR Condemns Bahra...
- 10/07/16--11:21: _BCHR Condemns Impri...
- 10/10/16--02:04: _As the Religious Se...
- 10/10/16--02:51: _Jailed Bahraini hum...
- 10/10/16--02:55: _Bahrain detains man...
- 10/10/16--02:58: _Thousands Commemora...
- 10/10/16--03:30: _Authorities Prevent...
- 10/10/16--04:43: _Journalist and Soci...
- 10/11/16--01:18: _BHRS: 7 Sentenced t...
- 10/11/16--01:22: _Public Prosecution ...
- 10/12/16--00:51: _Bahrain Watch - Ong...
- 10/12/16--01:35: _Bahrain’s New Appro...
- 10/12/16--01:42: _Authorities Release...
- 10/03/16--03:33: One Torturer to Another: Kissinger Honors Bahrain FM With Award
- 10/04/16--02:00: Bahrain top court rejects release of opposition chief
- Immediately and unconditionally release Nabeel Rajab and all political prisoners detained for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of speech and expression;
- Drop all charges against Nabeel Rajab at his trial on 6 October 2016, which are related to his right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech; and
- Abide by international legislation upholding the right to freedom of expression, without any restrictions or arbitrary legal procedures.
- 10/05/16--03:36: HRW: Why No Outcry Over Nabeel Rajab?
- 10/06/16--00:42: Nabeel Rajab's Trial postponed for the third time, today
- Spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumours” (art. 133 of the Penal Code)
- “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]” (art, 215 of the Penal Code)
- “offending a statutory body” (art. 216 of the Penal Code)
- Release immediately Nabeel Rajab and all other prisoners of conscience
- Drop all outstanding charges against persons being prosecuted for exercising their freedom of expression
- Repeal articles 133, 215 and 216 of the penal code, and all other penal code articles which violate the right to free expression.
- Condemn immediately the ongoing prosecution of Nabeel Rajab
- Act towards securing Rajab’s release from detention, as well as of all other prisoners of conscience.
- 10/07/16--11:21: BCHR Condemns Imprisonment of Women’s Rights Defender Ghada Jamsheer
- Immediately and unconditionally release Ghada Jamsheer; and
- End all forms of harassment and prosecution against Ghada Jamsheer and all human rights defenders exercising their right to freedom of expression.
Immediately end the blockade of Duraz, allowing freedom of movement for all persons wishing to enter and leave the village;
Protect all human rights, particularly those related to freedom of religion and belief; and
Allow people to freely engage in religious practices without being subjected to restrictions or harassment by the state.
- 10/10/16--02:51: Jailed Bahraini human rights activist waits in legal limbo
- 10/10/16--02:55: Bahrain detains man for "defamatory" sectarian tweet
- Immediately and unconditionally release Faisal Hayyat, Nabeel Rajab and all internet users arrested and imprisoned for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression; and
- Abide by international human rights standards, including the ICCPR, by upholding the right to freedom of expression without any restrictions.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—known for orchestrating bloody coups and wars—awarded Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa with a Lifetime Achievement Award for economic development and “respect for religious pluralism.” The state official is known for presiding over a bloody military crackdown on Arab Spring protests.
“It was granted to HM the King in recognition of his continued achievements and incessant efforts in all fields, notably in development, respect for religious pluralism in the Kingdom of Bahrain and his interest in bolstering Bahrain-U.S. ties at all levels, making of them an exemplary model of relations among nations, based on strong and clear foundations,” wrote the state Bahrain News Agency Tuesday when Kissinger awarded the prize during the U.S. C3 Summit, held to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Arab countries.
Read full article here
Bahrain's top court rejected Monday a request to release Shiite opposition chief cleric Ali Salman, who is serving a nine-year jail term on charges of inciting hatred and forceful regime change.
The head of the Al-Wefaq group had been sentenced in July 2015 to four years in jail after being convicted of inciting hatred in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom.
But the appeals court in May more than doubled his jail term to nine years after reversing an earlier acquittal on charges of calling for regime change by force.
Read the full article here.
On 6 October 2016, the Bahrain High Criminal Court will hear the case of Nabeel Rajab, leading human rights defender, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH. It is expected that a verdict may be announced. BCHR is deeply concerned about the ongoing detention and prosecution of Rajab, as well as his deteriorating health condition since his arrest.
Rajab, who has spent 114 days in detention since his arrest on 13 June 2016, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted under art. 133 of Bahrain’s penal code for spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumours”, an additional two years under art. 215 of the penal code for “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]”, and another three years under article 216 of the penal code for “offending a statutory body” for comments relating to Jau prison in Bahrain. The whole case is based on tweets and retweets.
Additional charges were subsequently brought against Rajab in relation to The New York Times Op-Ed that was published on 5 September 2016 regarding his arrest and current living conditions.
Rajab’s health has seriously deteriorated as a result of the poor incarceration conditions. On 3 October 2016, just three days before the next trial date, Rajab underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder. For most of his detention, Rajab has been held in solitary confinement. Rajab had endured ill-treatment from the prison staff and unsanitary living conditions by living with other detainees infected with serious diseases. On 25 August 2016, Rajab was transferred to the Interior Ministry's clinic headquarters after suffering chest pains and shortness of breath, a condition he had not suffered before detention, according to his family.
Since his arrest, Rajab’s case has attracted the attention of the international community, including government officials, the spokesperson of the US Department of State, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and members of the EU Parliament. On 2 September 2016, 34 NGOs wrote a letter to the King of Bahrain urging the government to “abide by the principles of democracy and human rights and to safeguard freedom of expression in Bahrain (...) by dropping all charges against the human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab and ensure his immediate and unconditional release.” On 14 September 2016, BCHR, along with 21 other prominent NGOs including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, wrote to the governments of 50 states urging them to publicly call for the release of Nabeel Rajab, and to "speak out on Bahrain’s continued misuse of the judicial system to harass and silence human rights defenders, through charges that violate freedom of expression." Among those addressed are the governments of France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, the latter having previously called for Rajab’s release on 6 September 2016.
Just recently at the 33rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights used his opening statement to voice his concern over Bahrain’s imprisonment of human rights defenders, and “how disastrous the outcomes can be when a Government attempts to smash the voices of its people, instead of serving them.” Furthermore, a statement made on behalf of the European Union urged the government of Bahrain to “aim for stability through reforms and inclusive reconciliation,” and expressed concerns over “the arrest and travelling bans for human rights activists, including the re-arrest of Mr. Nabeel Rajab.”
The Government of Bahrain, as a signatory of international human rights conventions, is bound to safeguard the right to exercise freedom of expression without any unjustified and arbitrary constraint. As Rajab’s verdict is quickly approaching, depriving him of his liberty for the mere exercise of a fundamental right goes against Bahrain’s commitment to abide by the international conventions it has signed, and raises concerns over its ability to respect its legal obligations and ensure the security of its citizens.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the Bahraini government to:
In January 2014, Stephen Colbert interviewed Human Rights Watch’s executive director Ken Roth and asked him who the next Nelson Mandela would be. Alongside the Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, he named Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab. Read more here.
Nabeel Rajab, leading human rights defender, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, saw his trial at the High Criminal Court postponed today, for the 3rd time in a row since his arrest.
The next trial has been scheduled for October 31st.
The prosecution of Nabeel Rajab is based on the following charges:
If convicted, Mr. Rajab could face up to 15 years in prison. On 5 September, Rajab received an additional charge of “intentionally broadcasting false news and malicious rumours abroad impairing the prestige of the state”, based on a letter from prison published by the New York Times magazine. The charge could lead to an additional one year in prison-sentence.
BCHR is deeply concerned about the possibility that Rajab is going back to prison considering his deteriorating health condition. The postponement of the verdict comes 3 days after Rajab underwent a surgery to remove his gallbladder. Rajab had spent 115 days in detention since his arrest on 13 June 2016. Throughout his time spent in detention, Rajab endured ill-treatment from the prison staff, unsanitary living conditions, and had been held in solitary confinement for an extended period.
His case has attracted the attention of the international community, including many prominent political figures such as the spokesperson of the US Department of State, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and members of the EU Parliament.
BCHR believes that sentencing Rajab for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment. The sentencing also goes against Bahrain’s international human rights commitment, and raises concerns over its willingness to safeguard the security of its citizens. BCHR urges the Bahraini government to end all forms of prosecution against Nabeel Rajab, and to immediately and unconditionally release him. We also call on the international community to denounce all acts of reprisal against human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.
Human Rights First today urged the U.S. government to link the proposed sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain to the acquittal of jailed Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who faces a verdict in court tomorrow [6 Oct].
Read the full article here.
6 October 2016 - A Bahraini high criminal court today postponed the sentencing of Nabeel Rajab to 31 October. No reason was provided for the postponement. The leading human rights defender faces up to 15 years in prison in a trial that has flagrantly disregarded his human rights. We, the undersigned, condemn the prosecution of Nabeel Rajab on charges related to his freedom of expression.
Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), is facing multiple charges of “disseminating false rumors in time of war”, “insulting a neighboring country” and “insulting a statutory body” under articles 133, 215 and 216 of the penal code. These are in relation to remarks he tweeted and retweeted on Twitter in 2015 about the humanitarian crisis caused by the Saudi-led war in Yemen - with Saudi Arabia the "insulted" country - and documenting torture in Bahrain's Jau prison. The charges collectively carry up to 15 years in prison.
In September, Bahrain’s prosecution brought new charges against him for “undermining the prestige of the state” after the New York Times published Rajab’s opinion piece, Letter from a Bahraini Jail. This charge could add another year to his sentence.
In his letter, Rajab wrote:“No one has been properly held to account for systematic abuses that have affected thousands.” The BCHR estimates there are approximately 4000 political prisoners in the country. Rajab also asked: “Is this the kind of ally America wants? The kind that punishes its people for thinking, that prevents its citizens from exercising their basic rights?”
The US has called for Rajab’s release “full stop”, and the EU’s top human rights official yesterday expressed his “hope” for Rajab’s release. Present at Rajab’s trial today was a representative of the EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, and representatives of the Italian, Spanish, UK and US embassies in Bahrain.
According to Rajab’s lawyer, the sentencing was scheduled to occur today. Rajab attended, despite being in poor condition following surgery on 3 October, and the judge was expected to render the judgement. But instead, the judge stated that the court had taken note of the request submitted today by Rajab’s lawyers requesting his medical reports, and the court would adjourn the case to 31 October. It is not usual for the court to mention such a request for medical reports had been made, and there was no clear reason to the defence team as to why the court referred to it.
Rajab’s lawyer states there is no link between the adjournment and their request for the medical reports. The court had denied previous requests for Rajab’s medical documents, because the Ministry of Interior and Public Prosecution state that he had been provided with all required are since his detention began. The court thus denied Rajab access to his own records. The defence team submitted their latest request today morning. The court did not clarify whether it had accepted or rejected the request, nor did it clarify whether there are medical reports in the case file.
In September, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights used his opening statement at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council to warn Bahrain: "The past decade has demonstrated repeatedly and with punishing clarity exactly how disastrous the outcomes can be when a Government attempts to smash the voices of its people, instead of serving them." Today’s sentencing is yet another case of the Bahraini government attempting to smash those voices.
Bahraini forces arbitrarily arrested Rajab on 13 June 2015, the opening day of the UN Human Rights Council’s 32nd Session. His arrest coincided with travel bans on activists, the forced exile of Zainab Al-Khawaja under threat of rearrest, and the dissolution of the Al Wefaq political society.
Following his June arrest, courts prosecuted Rajab for the two charges first brought against him in April 2015, with a new third charge of “insulting a neighbouring country” - Saudi Arabia. Tweets used as evidence against Rajab, seen by BIRD, BCHR and ADHRB, include documentation of torture and retweets of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Index on Censorship.
Police placed Rajab in solitary confinement for the majority of his pre-trial detention. After 15 days in solitary, on 28 June 2016 Rajab required urgent medical attention after losing a significant amount of weight, developing an irregular heartbeat and developing immune system deficiencies due to poor prison conditions. Authorities transferred Rajab back to police custody the following day.
Rajab’s prosecution is the latest in a series of repressive actions that have led to the dissolution of political societies, imprisonment of protestors and religious clerics, and curtailment of activists’ free movement.
The right to freedom of expression is protected under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the latter of which Bahrain acceded to in 2006. Nabeel Rajab’s prosecution and sentencing represents a clear violation of this right.
We, the undersigned, condemn this flagrant violation of the rights to freedom of expression.
We call on the Government of Bahrain to:
We call on the governments of the United Kingdom and United States, and the European Union to:
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expressed on the International Day of Non-Violence, marked October 2, 2016, its grave concern for the continued targeting of human rights defenders and civil society activists by the Bahraini authorities.In a statement issued on its website, the BCHR called on the Bahraini government to "end interference with the work of human rights defenders; ensure accountability for those who violate human rights in Bahrain; guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of speech in Bahrain; and end the criminal cases against human rights defenders which aim to punish their work."
Continue reading here.
“The judges, who all don’t want to be involved in the case, say that the lawsuits should not have proceeded in the first place. This only means the cases against me are all false.”
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is deeply concerned about the ongoing detention of prominent Bahraini women’s rights defender Ghada Jamsheer. A petition was launched to call for her release, and drop the travel bans against other women rights defenders, including BCHR staff.
Jamsheer, President of the Women’s Petition Committee (WPC), writer and blogger, was arrested on 19 August 2016 at Bahrain’s airport, in Manama. Jamsheer had just spent several weeks in London, the United Kingdom, for medical treatment. This re-arrest came after the Second High Criminal Court decided to uphold a one-year prison sentence in June 2016, in addition to combined sentences of several months each over four charges of criticizing the King Hamad Hospital on twitter.
Jamsheer is being held at the Isa Town Women’s Detention Center, where she had been detained during a previous arrest in 2014. Her health condition is deteriorating, and she is not able to carry out her medical treatment in prison, where she is held with other sick detainees who put her health at risk. In a call to BCHR from jail, she said: “The judges, who all don’t want to be involved in the case, say that the lawsuits should not have proceeded in the first place. This only means the cases against me are all false.” Jamsheer is also concerned about her young daughter, who relies on the support of her mother.
In 2016, Jamsheer was sentenced to an additional seven months in prison on three charges related to tweeting, and an appeals court upheld a sentence of one year in prison for allegedly “assaulting a police officer” in jail, in connection with the case. After criticizing the allegedly corrupt management of King Hamad Hospital, she had been fined around 10,000 dinars (approx. USD$26.500), and received an extended prison sentence by the appeal court.
The decision to re-arrest Jamsheer upon her return to Bahrain is in line with the government’s will to suppress all forms of political dissent, and to discourage those who speak out against the government’s abuses. Throughout the years, Jamsheer advocated for gender equality and protection of women through codified personal status laws. Her advocacy work got her a standing ovation from Time magazine, who named her one of the four heroes of freedom in the Arab world. She was also placed on the list of the top 10 most powerful women in the Arab world by Forbes. In addition to her work at WPC, Jamsheer has also criticized the ongoing electoral methods aimed at decreasing the power of the Shiite majority, and accused the administrators of King Hamad Hospital of corruption, which constituted grounds for the ongoing judicial harassment and prosecution by the authorities.
Jamsheer is not the first victim of the Bahraini government’s reprisals, nor the last one. Since 2011, around 300 complaints regarding the arrests and torture of women who dare to exercise their rights to freedom of expression were received by BCHR. In addition, the Bahraini government had imposed travel bans on several human rights defenders to prevent them from participating in the 32nd and 33rd Sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council, or human rights workshops.
BCHR is alarmed about the judicial harassment directed at Ghada Jamsheer, and believes that these targetings and arrests are aimed at deterring human rights defenders from exercising their rights. We call on the international community to condemn these acts of reprisal against all human rights defenders, and to press for the release of Ghada Jamsheer.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights further calls on the Government of Bahrain to:
Duraz is still under lockdown, with checkpoints in entrances, and only its residents allowed in.
The Bahraini authorities are still enforcing a lockdown on Duraz, which has continued for more than 100 days so far. Anyone who is not a resident of Duraz is unable to enter, and this includes clerics who intend to participate and give sermons during religious gatherings there. The authorities engaged in violent actions to forcefully remove religious signs from several areas in Bahrain.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) condemns these extreme actions that were committed by the Bahraini authorities. We express our concern that these extreme acts could deprive thousands of Bahrainis of their right to freely practice their religious rituals, especially during Muharram, which is an Islamic month in which people mourn the death of the grandson of the prophet, Imam Husain ibn Ali, by engaging in many religious events.
These religious events usually take place in community centers which the Bahrainis call “Matam(s)”. Duraz has 10 Matams for men and 10 Matams for women, in which people hold at least 10 mourning sessions in total. Following the government’s decision to revoke the citizenship of the top Shia cleric in Bahrain - Sheikh Isa Qassim - and the beginning of the sit-in in front of his house, the authorities have subjected Duraz to an unprecedented lockdown, in what is a form of collective punishment against the entire village. Police established blockades closing off most of the roads leading into and out of Duraz. All major and minor entrances have been sealed off, with the exception of only two entrances to Duraz. At the two entrances left open, there are checkpoints, where policemen closely check people’s IDs, and restrict people from entering Duraz, especially non-residents. This has left people unable to participate in the biggest Friday prayer in Bahrain, which is held in Duraz, for more than 10 consecutive weeks now.
Furthermore, a number of religious Shia preachers and singers were summoned for their participation in the sit-in in front of the house of Sheikh Isa Qassim. A number of people were arrested for the same reason. Since 19 August 2016, when the first sentence was issued against Shiite cleric Sheikh Ali Humeidan, charged with gathering with intention to cause security disorder, eight other defendants, including clerics, have been sentenced a total of 12 years in prison. One of them, Habib Al-Dirazi, was sentenced to one year in prison for each day he spent in the sit-in, making it two years in total.
These violations of religious freedom occurred in many areas in Bahrain, not only in Duraz. BCHR documented the security forces’ removal of religious signs in at least 15 Shia neighbourhoods, which were put up in commemoration of Muharram. In addition, policemen used tear gas to suppress people who protested the removal of these signs. The authorities also denied entry to Duraz to at least two religious preachers; Said Mustafa Al-Karrani and Sheikh Mohammed Al-Mahfoodh, who were supposed to participate in a religious event in Duraz. Several Matam leaders said that there are nine religious preachers who were denied entry to Bahrain on 1 October 2016, due to security reasons, despite the fact that they have visa entries that were approved by the Ministry of Interior.
Due to these violent acts committed by the security forces in Bahrain, and the restrictions on people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, BCHR is worried that the authorities will ban all kinds of religious rituals and practices in Duraz.
A group of United Nations human rights experts* issued a statement on 16 August 1016, calling on the government of Bahrain to end the systematic harassment that the Shia population faces by the Bahraini authorities, including stripping many of them of citizenship, which they considered “deeply concerning.” They stated that: “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.”
By subjecting Duraz to this siege, and attacking religious rituals, Bahrain is violating Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 18 (1) states that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” These abuses also violate the rights stated in Article 18 (3), which states that “Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
In view of these violations of religious freedoms and freedom of assembly, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the Bahraini government to:
(*) The experts are: Mr. Sètondji Adjovi, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; and Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab who faces 15 years in prison for criticising Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen must wait three more weeks for the verdict of his trial.
Read the full article here.
Officials in Bahrain say a man has been detained for writing a post on Twitter that may have contained "defamatory statements" against one of the country's main Muslim sects.
Read full article here.
Thousands of Bahraini citizens continue to commemorate Ashura outside the house of Shiite majority spiritual leader, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim in Diraz. Photos circulated on social media networks show thousands of people gathering outside Sheikh Isa's house. The authorities had revoked Sheikh Isa's citizenship last June.
Read full article here.
Bahrain's security forces prevented on Friday (October 7, 2016) the Shiite majority from performing the biggest Friday prayers, after they banned the Friday prayers Imam and worshippers from entering Diraz.
Read the full article here.
10 October 2016 - Bahraini authorities arrested journalist and social media activist Faisal Hayyat yesterday after he was summoned over a tweet. The Public Prosecution today remanded Hayyat in custody for one week on charges of insulting a sect and a religious figure. His case has been transferred to Criminal Court. The undersigned NGOs condemn Bahrain’s ongoing criminalization of freedom of expression and targeting of opposition activists.
Hayyat is a former sports journalist and a social media activist who directs and presents short video programs online which provide critical perspectives on local politics. On 9 October 2016, Hayat tweeted at 4AM that he had been summoned via a phone call to immediately present himself to the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID). He was subsequently arrested. In a statement the Ministry of Interior announced the arrest of “a man suspected of publishing a Tweet containing defamatory statements against a particular sect in Bahrain.”
Hayyat is a previous political prisoner. He was detained in 2011 for 84 days and suffered physical and psychological torture, including sexual harassment. He has been vocal about this and recently published a letter over social media to the Bahraini Minister of Interior detailing the torture he was subjected to in 2011, for which he was never compensated, and the abusers never held accountable. In the letter Hayyat mentions, “I write this and I know it can cost me my freedom.”
The official charges are in relation to a tweet on Hayyat’s twitter account around a controversial historical figure. However, the undersigned NGOs believe Hayyat has been targeted as part of a silencing campaign against critical voices of the government. There are currently at least 18 internet users detained for charges related to freedom of expression online, including the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)’s President Nabeel Rajab. (Read BCHR’s report: “Digital Rights Derailed in Bahrain”)
The Ministry of Interior added that “the arrest comes as part of an effort to reduce sectarian language on social media.” BCHR has been monitoring the increasing hate speech over social media and the selective measures taken by the authorities targeting certain political opponents and activists with arrest and imprisonment for mere personal opinions while ignoring thousands of messages containing hate speech.
Hyat could face charges under article Article 309 of the Penal Code, which states “A punishment for a period not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding BD 100 shall be given to any person who commits an offence by any method of expression against one of the recognized religious sects or ridicules the rituals thereof.”
The Government of Bahrain’s actions are in direct violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression over any platform. It states that “ This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of the frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or through any other media of his choice.”
The undersigned NGOs call on the Bahraini government to:
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)
The Bahrain Human Rights Society said in a statement issued Monday (October 11, 2016) on the World Day Against the Death Penalty, that since 2009 until today, the Kingdom of Bahrain has not witnessed any execution of death penalties. They indicated that this is a good sign; however, the disappointing part is that the death penalty sentences are still upheld.
Read the full article here
The Public Prosecution decided on Monday (October 10, 2016) to detain journalist Faisal Hayyat for 7 days pending investigation.
The Bahraini authorities arrested on Sunday (October 9, 2016) Hayyat, few days after writing an open letter to the Minister of Interior Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa related to torturing in the Bahraini prisons.
Read the full article here
In August, Bahrain Watch published a report providing technical evidence that Bahrain’s ISPs were deliberately disrupting fixed-line connections, and shutting down mobile data services, every night between 7:00PM and 1:00AM in the village of Duraz. The village has been the site of ongoing protests since 20 June 2016, when Bahrain’s government revoked the citizenship of Sheikh Isa Qassim, one of the central spiritual leaders of Bahrain’s Shia community and a resident of Duraz.
Continue reading here.
Bahrain continues to express arrogance when addressing the United Nations. The Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said on Tuesday (August 30, 2016) that his country "will not for one moment heed any voices from outside trying to blackmail it, especially the Human Rights Council". This means that his government is free to arbitrarily arrest, torture or revoke the citizenships of its people and even expel them outside the country.
Read the full article here.