Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


older | 1 | .... | 51 | 52 | (Page 53) | 54 | 55 | .... | 79 | newer

    0 0

    The Bahrain visit marks 200 years of formal relations between the two countries, dating from a treaty of friendship signed in 1816.

    But the trip comes amid concerns of continued human rights abuses in Bahrain.

    Prince Charles has faced calls to raise concerns over how Bahrain's security forces have dealt with a string of mass protests in the country.

    Read full article here

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

    0 0

    Prince Charles has come under renewed criticism over human rights abuses in Bahrain after he yesterday opened part of a new £30m naval base gifted to Britain by the Gulf state.

    One activist in the town of Diraz, close to where Prince Charles yesterday met members of the Bahraini royal family during his three-day visit with the Duchess of Cornwall, said: “They are betting on the silence of the West because of the supply of the facilities. The [West] are compromising other things for this.”

    Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy for the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said: “The UK continually claims to support human rights in Bahrain, but to what result? Britain has only got more friendly with a regime which has escalated its repression in the past year.

    Read full article here

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

    0 0

    A secular political leader in Bahrain was charged Sunday with "inciting hatred" against the island's rulers after giving an interview to The Associated Press during a recent visit by Britain's Prince Charles, an activist and his party said.

    Ebrahim Sharif of the Waad party had told the AP on Friday he feared the Prince of Wales' visit to the tiny kingdom could "whitewash" an ongoing crackdown on dissent there. He also suggested the island's ruling family should enter into a power-sharing agreement with political parties as the kingdom faces growing financial pressure from low oil prices.

    On Sunday, Bahrain's public prosecution said it questioned an unnamed man over comments made to the foreign press.

     

    Read the full article here.

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    Members of Parliament demanded the government to appoint new military, security, and legal attaches in Bahraini 4 embassies abroad. This comes in light of the "vicious attacks Bahrain faces from international organizations and parties that support instability and insecurity in the country."

    The Foreign Affairs committee approved the proposal stating the desire to appoint the attaches in the Bahraini Embassies in the USA, UK, Germany, and Russia. Members of Parliament are scheduled to vote for the aforementioned proposal in their meeting next Tuesday (November 15, 2016).

     

    Read the full article here.

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

    0 0

    14 November 2016 - The Government of Bahrain continues to deny adequate medical care to Bahraini activist and detainee Hussain Abdulwahab Hussain Ali Ismail. NGOs who have spoken to the family have received reports that security officers beat Hussain after he insisted on receiving treatment. We, the undersigned NGOs, strongly condemn the Bahraini government’s ill-treatment  and refusal to provide healthcare to Hussain, and demand that he be released into the care of independent medical experts immediately.

    Hussain Abdulwahab is currently detained at Dry Dock, the main pre-sentence detention centre. On 6 January 2016, Bahraini authorities arrested Hussain Abdulwahab for alleged terrorist involvement. His family has filed numerous appeals regarding Hussain’s ill-treatment, including official complaints to the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman’s office and to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), demanding authorities provide Hussain with the medical attention that he requires. Yet, over a week after submitting the complaints, Hussain’s health continues to deteriorate.

    Hussain relies on a wheelchair for mobility. However, due to the recent decline in his health, he has difficulty moving and is mostly bedridden. In response to the Bahraini authorities’ failure to provide access to medical care while in detention, Hussain began an open hunger strike on 5 November. On 6 November, Dry Dock administration transferred him to the prison’s clinic. At the clinic, Hussain refused to leave until authorities confirmed an appointment with healthcare specialists for his treatment. In response, a police officer kicked and reportedly beat Hussain until he fell out of his wheelchair. Government authorities have still not provided access for Hussain to see a doctor.

    Hussain is the son of prominent political leader and activist Abdulwahab Hussain Ali Ahmed Esmael. Bahraini authorities sentenced Abdulwahab to life in prison as part of the Bahrain 13 for participating in the 2011 pro-democracy protests. After taking part in the 2011 demonstrations, security forces arrested and beat him and his daughter. During incarceration, authorities subjected Abdulwahab  to torture and mistreatment. Abdulwahab is a lifelong activist, and the Bahraini government repeatedly targeted and imprisoned him prior to 2011. In 2001, after being pardoned by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, Abdulwahab co-founded the now-dissolved opposition society, Al-Wefaq. In 2009, Abdulwahab founded another opposition group, Al-Wafa’. He has been spent a portion of his recent sentence in solitary confinement. Prison authorities have repeatedly denied Abdulwahab access to medical care while in prison, despite his suffering from a chronic neurological disorder.

    The Government of Bahrain’s actions are in direct violation of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states, “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself.” Additionally, authorities are in violation of Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognizes the right of everyone “to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”

    The undersigned NGOs call on the Bahraini government to:

    • Immediately provide all necessary medical attention and care to Hussain Abdulwahab Hussain Ali Ismail and all prisoners in Bahrain;
    • Immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners of conscience, including Hussain Abdulwahab Hussain Ali Ismail, Abdulwahab Hussain Ali Ahmed Esmael, and all members of the Bahrain 13 still in prison; and
    • Abide by international human rights standards, including the ICCPR and ICESCR, by upholding the citizen’s right to healthcare.

    Signed,

    Americans for Democracy and 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)

     
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    UPDATE: 14 November 2016, 2:00pm EST - The United States Department of State has called for the Government of Bahrain to drop all charges against Ebrahim Sharif, noting that that the Department has raised the case directly with Bahraini authorities. Director of Press Relations Elizabeth Trudeau stated that “no one anywhere should be prosecuted or imprisoned for engaging in freedom expression, even when that expression is critical. Any charges against Sharif on that basis, should be dropped.” Find full video of the press briefing here.

    14 November 2016 - Bahrain's public prosecution yesterday charged leading opposition politician Ebrahim Sharif under article 165 of the penal code with “inciting hatred against the regime,” after he spoke to the Associated Press (AP) last week. We, the undersigned, consider this to be a violation of his right to freedom of expression and a reprisal against his political activity.
    The charge carries a three-year sentence and comes after Prince Charles' controversial visit to the Gulf monarchy last week. It is the latest development in the Bahraini government’s intensified crackdown on civil society in the past year.

    Speaking on Prince Charles' arrival in the country Sharif, the former leader of the secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad), told AP he was afraid the visit would "whitewash" human rights abuses.

    Sharif told AP: "I don't see what's gone on behind closed doors or whether the prince raised any questions of human rights. Bahrain's government values its relations with the U.K. and if the U.K. puts its weight behind the improvement of human rights in Bahrain, the government will listen. They need friends."

    He further said: "All parties should compromise. We can't have absolute power in the hands of the ruling family."

    "Ebrahim Sharif was expressing his opinion and no one should ever be prosecuted for that,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD). “Bahrain claims to be inclusive, that's the image they tried to sell with Prince Charles' visit. But Sharif's prosecution reveals the barefaced lie.”

    Prince Charles' visit courted controversy, with campaigners accusing him of participating in a PR exercise aimed at hiding Bahrain’s poor human rights record. In his visit, the Prince of Wales highlighted religious tolerance in Bahrain, a theme also highlighted by visiting Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood MP, visiting the Al Fateh Grand Mosque and Bahrain's Hindu temple, and meeting members of the country's Jewish community. But the royal tour failed to meet with members of the Shia community, who make up a majority of Bahrain's citizen population, and who have faced heightened discrimination from the government in the past months. In August, five UN experts called on Bahrain to end its "persecution of Shias".

    Ebrahim Sharif is the former Secretary General of Wa’ad. He was a member of the Bahrain 13, a group of high profile activists arrested, tortured and sentenced by military court in 2011. He was released in June 2015, but re-arrested weeks later and sentenced to another year in prison for a political speech he gave calling for continued peaceful opposition. Sharif was released from prison in July 2016. He is currently under a travel ban order.

    At the time of Sharif's June 2015 release, the US State Department lifted an arms ban on Bahrain, citing "meaningful progress on human rights.” However, Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior re-arrested him less than three weeks later on charges of “inciting regime change and hatred and contempt against the regime.” A court found him guilty and sentenced him to one year in prison. As a result of the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, including Sharif’s re-arrest, both the US Senate and House of Representatives introduced bipartisan legislation calling for the resumption of an arms ban on the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) and National Guard, forbidding the sale of weapons that could be used to suppress peaceful dissent. The bills would allow for the sale of arms only after the Secretary of State certifies that the Bahraini government has fully implemented all 26 recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in 2011. As of 2016, the US State Department assessed that key recommendations of the BICI still have yet to be implemented by the Bahraini government and, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), and BIRD have found that only two of the Commission’s recommendations have been fully implemented.

    “Though the Bahraini government continues to falsely claim that it has implemented all 26 BICI recommendations, virtually all independent assessments reveal a complete failure to reform on key human rights issues,” said Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of ADHRB. “The prosecution of Ebrahim Sharif for his interview with AP follows the authorities’ decision to similarly charge prominent human rights defender and BCHR president Nabeel Rajab for his open letter in the New York Times. These actions clearly demonstrate that the government remains committed to suppressing all forms of criticism.”

    The Government of Bahrain’s actions violate the freedom of expression, as protected under Article 19 of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain acceded to in 2006.

    We condemn this violation of the right to free expression and call for the immediate dropping of all charges against Ebrahim Sharif, and all other persons prosecuted for their speech.

     

    Signed,

    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)

    Index on Censorship

     
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    Hundreds of protestors in Diraz demanded on Monday (November 14, 2016) the security authorities to unveil the fate of detainee Sayed Alawi Sayed Hussein.

    The Bahraini authorities arrested Hussein from his place of work on October 24, 2016 and refused to reveal any information regarding the reasons behind his arrest or his place.

    Protestors held photos for Hussein and other banners that read "The Ombudsman is a partner in the crime of kidnapping Hussein, hiding and torturing him."

     

    Read the full article here.

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    Bahrain’s public prosecution on Sunday 13 November charged leading opposition politician Ebrahim Sharif under article 165 of the penal code with “inciting hatred against the regime,” after he spoke to the Associated Press last week. We, the undersigned, consider this to be a violation of his right to freedom of expression and a reprisal against his political activity.

    Read the entire article here.

    Document Type: 

    0 0

    First, Bahraini authorities hit human rights defender Nabeel Rajab with charges for writing an oped in the New York Times, and now they have charged secular opposition leader Ebrahim Sharif after an interview he gave to the Associated Press a few days ago.

    Stifling negative press is a classic hallmark of a repressive regime, and Bahrain is increasingly touchy about anyone revealing its ugly truth. Up until mass protests for democracy broke out in 2011, and even for a while after, Bahrain was relatively accessible for media and human rights organizations. Now it’s virtually impossible for us to get in.

    Continue reading here.
     
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    The British government is to raise concerns with the Bahraini government over the arrest of a politician, Ebrahim Sharif, following last week’s visit to Bahrain by Prince Charles.

    During the visit, Sharif gave an interview to a US news agency in which he suggested that Charles’s day-long tour of the island kingdom could “whitewash” an ongoing crackdown on dissent.

    Continue reading here.

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    Key Developments:

    • Messaging app Telegram was blocked for several days in February in an effort to contain protests marking the fifth anniversary of Bahrain’s “Day of Rage” (see Restrictions on Connectivity).
    • 2Connect, a small mobile and internet service provider, had its licensed revoked by the regulator for failing to provide security agencies with a tool to access users’ data (see Regulatory Bodies).
    • Canadian company Netsweeper won a Bahraini government tender to implement a nationwide filtering system in a move that will boost the sophistication of internet censorship (see Blocking and Filtering).
    • Five users were sentenced one to five years in prison for tweets that were critical of Saudi Arabia, including outrage over the Saudi-led airstrike campaign in Yemen, the death of hundreds of pilgrims at the 2015 hajj, and the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Numerous others were prosecuted for insulting Bahraini public officials (see Prosecutions and Detentions for Online Activities).

    Read the full report here.

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    16 November 2016 - In the past few days, the Bahraini authorities have summoned at least 26 activists and human rights defenders for interrogations over charges of illegal gathering, including members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). The undersigned NGOs are deeply concerned about this sudden wave of reprisals against opposition voices and human rights defenders.

    Three members of BCHR were summoned for questioning in the past days. On 15 November 2016, the Head of International Relations and Women & Children's Rights Advocacy at BCHR Nedal Al-Salman was interrogated on charges of illegal gathering. Additionally, Enas Oun, Head of the Documentation Unit at BCHR, was summoned on 13 November 2016 and accused by the Public Prosecution of organizing an assembly on 20 June 2016 in the Al-Dair area, around 11:45 pm. Ahmad Al-Saffar, human rights defender and a memberofBCHR,was also interrogated on 13 November 2016 by the Bahraini Public Prosecution, which charged him with “illegal assembly.” All were subsequently released.

    Moreover, the authorities have also targeted other human rights defenders and activists not affiliated with BCHR during the crackdown. Human rights defender and member of the Bahrain Society for Human Rights (BSHR) Zeinab Al-Khamis was interrogated by the Public Prosecution. On her Twitter account, Zeinab Al-Khamis explained that the Bahraini authorities issued her a subpoena after breaking into her house on 14 November.

    On 13 November 2016, Radhi Al-Musawi and Zainab Mohammad were also summoned for interrogation. Radhi Al-Musawi, Secretary General of Bahrain’s National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), was also ordered to appear before the Bahraini Public Prosecution. Just three days before his summoning, on 10 November 2016, he was prevented by the authorities from leaving the country.

    On 9 November 2016, human rights defender, writer, Director General of the National Centre for Studies, and former President of the Bahrain Transparency Society Abdulnabi Al-Ekry was summoned to appear for interrogation on 10 November by the Bahraini Public Prosecution. The authorities had previously imposed a travel ban upon him as he was preparing to travel to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, from Bahrain International Airport.

    The government has subjected nearly all these activists to travel bans in addition to other forms of judicial harassment since June 2016. During this period, the authorities have arbitrarily arrested and interrogated dozens of human rights defenders, political figures, and religious leaders on a range of charges related solely to free expression and assembly. These harsh measures have been widely criticized by the international community, including the United Nations and the United States.

    The increase in summons is part of the Bahraini authorities’ ongoing campaign to silence all opposition, and to prevent human rights defenders and activists from travelling abroad to raise awareness for human rights abuses on the international stage. In June and September, the Government of Bahrain used arbitrary travel bans to restrict Bahraini civil society from traveling to Geneva to participate in the 32nd and 33rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    Furthermore, the authorities continue to detain leading human rights defender and president of BCHR Nabeel Rajab on charges related to tweets and retweets, violating his right to free expression. Rajab has been in custody since 13 June 2016 and is currently awaiting his trial on 15 December at the High Criminal Court after four consecutive postponements. The court has decided to hire an expert from the Cyber Crime Unit to verify that the Twitter handle in question is managed by him. If convicted, Rajab could face up to 15 years in prison.

    The leading opposition leader Ebrahim Sharif was charged by the Bahraini public prosecutor on 14 November under article 165 of the Penal Code for “inciting hatred against the regime,” after speaking to the Associated Press (AP) on how the Prince Charles’ arrival in Bahrain could be used to “whitewash” human rights abuses in the Kingdom.

    On 10 November 2016, Bahraini authorities summoned human Rights lawyer Mohammed Al-Tajer. They interrogated him over charges of inciting hatred against the regime, misusing social media and communication devices (Mobile phones). Despite the ban, Al-Tajer has continued his human rights work, reporting on violations and participating in events and meetings virtually.

    We the undersigned NGOs call on the Government of Bahrain to:

    • Cease arbitrarily summoning, interrogating, and charging human rights defenders and activists;
    • Lift all travel bans imposed on human rights defenders and activists and allow them to freely travel out of Bahrain; and
    • Release and drop all charges against Nabeel Rajab and all other prisoners of conscience.
       

    Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain

    Bahrain Center for Human Rights

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy

    European Center for Democracy and Human Rights

     
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    Women’s rights defender, writer and blogger Ghada Jamsheer remains in jail in Bahrain serving a combined ten-month sentence for exercising her right to free expression on Twitter. On 7 November 2016, Jamsheer appeared before Judge Mohamed Al-Khalifa of the High Criminal Court of Appeal to request that she be freed to serve out the remainder of her sentences outside of jail due to health concerns, however the judge has not yet informed her of his decision. 

    The undersigned more than 20 rights groups from around the world call for the sentence to be overturned, as it violates her right to free expression, and for Jamsheer to be freed immediately so she can receive proper treatment for her debilitating rheumatoid arthritis.

    Jamsheer, President of the Women's Petition Committee (WPC), is being held in connection with multiple sentences imposed relating to her tweets exposing corruption within the management of King Hamad Hospital, which is run by members of the ruling family.

    Jamsheer was detained on 15 August 2016 upon arrival from London where she was receiving medical treatment for her arthritis. She reports that she needs medication to ease the pain but fears that she will risk her health if she takes the medication in jail, because it compromises her immunity. Jamsheer showed the Judge her medical reports, which have been translated to Arabic.

    Following the hearing on 7 November, she was returned to Isa Town women’s prison, where conditions are cold and unsanitary. She was told she would receive a decision within a week. The hearing was well-attended by lawyers and other observers, including a representative of the United States Embassy.

    On 22 June 2016, Jamsheer was sentenced on appeal to prison by the Second High Criminal Court for four cases of defamation related to her tweets. She was originally misinformed that she was facing one year, but was told after her arrest in August that she is serving a ten-month term. She has now spent three months in prison this year, in addition to three months served when she was first arrested under the same charges on 15 September 2014.

    Jamsheer has 12 charges against her related to this case. She was fined 10,000 dinars (approx. USD$26,500) for defamation of the management of the hospital. In addition, she was also sentenced to one year in prison (suspended) on trumped up charges of allegedly “assaulting a police officer” while in custody.

    Jamsheer was featured in the #SheDefends campaign on 28 October, organised by the Women Human Rights Defenders Middle East and North Africa (WHRD MENA) Coalition.

    Over 250 people have called for her freedom by signing a petition in support of Jamsheer and women human rights defenders in Bahrain. Supporters are still signing the petition at https://action.manifesta.net/petitions/ask-the-king-of-bahrain-to-stop-persecuting-women-human-rights-defenders

    We, the undersigned organisations, call on the government of Bahrain to: 

    1. Immediately and unconditionally free Ghada Jamsheer;
    2. Overturn the sentence against Ghada Jamsheer, which violates her right to free expression;
    3. Immediately and unconditionally free all detained human rights defenders in Bahrain;
    4. At the very minimum, ensure all prisoners, including Ghada Jamsheer and other human rights defenders, have access to proper medical treatment and ensure conditions in prison necessary to maintain health; and
    5. End all forms of reprisals against human rights defenders and other activists, including travel bans, in violation of their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

     

    Signed:

    Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

    Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

    ARTICLE 19

    Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)

    Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

    Bahraini Organisation for human rights (EBOHR)

    CIVICUS

    Front Line Defenders

    Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)

    FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

    Brian Dooley, Human Rights First

    Index on Censorship

    International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

    Lawyer's Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)

    Nazra for Feminist Studies

    No Peace Without Justice

    Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

    Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights

    Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC)

    Women Human Rights Defenders Coalition in the Middle East and North Africa (WHRD MENA) Coalition

    World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

     

     

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    The UK Foreign Office will discuss the case of a Bahraini politician, who was arrested for criticising Prince Charles’ visit to the Gulf, with the Bahraini government.

    Last week Bahrain’s Cyber Crime Directorate accused Sharif of defaming the Kingdom when he criticised the British Prince of Wales’ visit whist giving an interview to an American news outlet. Sharif said Prince Charles’s trip to the Gulf state fuels human rights abuses perpetuated by the government.

    In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “We are concerned by the charges brought against Ebrahim Sharif, and we will be raising these concerns at a senior level with the Bahraini government.”

    Read full article here

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    Women’s rights defender, writer and blogger Ghada Jamsheer remains in jail in Bahrain serving a combined ten-month sentence for exercising her right to free expression on Twitter. On 7 November 2016, Jamsheer appeared before Judge Mohamed Al-Khalifa of the High Criminal Court of Appeal to request that she be freed to serve out the remainder of her sentences outside of jail due to health concerns, however, the judge has not yet informed her of his decision

    Jamsheer, President of the Women’s Petition Committee (WPC), is being held in connection with multiple sentences imposed relating to her tweets exposing corruption within the management of King Hamad Hospital, which is run by members of the ruling family.

    read full article here

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

    0 0

    Bahraini authorities have charged a prominent political activist with “inciting hatred of the political system” after he criticized Bahrain’s government and the November 8 to 11, 2016, visit to Bahrain by Britain’s Prince Charles. The charge against Ebrahim Sharif, former leader of the National Democratic Action Society, carries a prison term of up to three years and is a clear violation of his right to free expression.

    Read the full article here

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

    0 0

    What a summer it was for the Establishment in Bahrain and Britain. As the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, clasped his ears, the King of Bahrain roared with laughter. It was a Sunday evening in May and the upper tier of British royals watched as Her Majesty’s Household troops fired an artillery salute for her 90th birthday; the Queen had invited King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa personally to join the celebrations. He is considered to be such a close friend that he sat directly next to Queen Elizabeth. This was no accident. Their family friendship goes back generations.

    Read the full article here

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

    0 0

    On 17 November rights groups wrote to Prince Charles urging him to "publicly condemn" the prosecution of Ebrahim Sharif, a Bahraini politician facing charges after criticising the Prince of Wales' recent visit to the Gulf kingdom.

    Read the letter here.

    Sharif, the former leader of the National Democracy Action Society (Wa'ad), a secular political party, was charged with inciting hatred against the regime. he charge was made on Sunday, days after Sharif spoke to the Associated Press during the visit of Prince Charles to the kingdom, a tour which he described as a "whitewash". The charge carries a 3-year sentence, and comes in the aftermath of Prince Charles' controversial visit to the Gulf monarchy. In Bahrain, the government has escalated its civil rights crackdown in the past year.

    Speaking on the occasion of Prince Charles' visit to the Gulf monarchy, Sharif, the former leader of the secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad), told AP he was afraid the visit would "whitewash" human rights abuses. Sharif said: "I don't see what's gone on behind closed doors or whether the prince raised any questions of human rights. Bahrain's government values its relations with the U.K. and if the U.K. puts its weight behind the improvement of human rights in Bahrain, the government will listen. They need friends." He further said: "All parties should compromise. We can't have absolute power in the hands of the ruling family."

    The five NGOs, including ARTICLE 19, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Index on Censorship, write: "The new charge brought against Mr Sharif is a consequence of your visit to Bahrain and underlines his original concerns."

    They further said: "We ask that you publicly condemn this reprisal against Ebrahim Sharif’s freedom of expression and political participation."

    While the US State Department has called for the dropping of all charges against Ebrahim Sharif,the UK has only expressed concern, stating: "“We are concerned by the charges brought against Ebrahim Sharif, and we will be raising these concerns at a senior level with the Bahraini government.
    Said Yousif Al-Muhafdha, Vice-President of BCHR: "As a promoter of democracy and human rights principles abroad, the United Kingdom has to rise to its expectations and ask the government in Bahrain to abide to international human rights law, and end hostilities against activists speaking out their concerns. The Bahraini authorities need to drop all charges against Ebrahim Sharif, who peacefully exercised his right to free speech."

    Prince Charles' visit courted controversy, with campaigners accusing him of participating in a PR exercise and whitewash of continued human rights violations. The Prince of Wales highlighted religious tolerance in Bahrain, a theme also highlighted by visiting Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood MP, visiting the AlFateh Grand Mosque and Bahrain's Hindu temple, and meeting members of the country's Jewish community. But the royal tour failed to meet with members of the Shia community, who make up a majority of Bahrain's citizen population, and who have faced heightened discrimination from the government in the past months. In August, five UN experts called on Bahrain to end its "persecution of Shias".

    Ebrahim Sharif is the former leader of the Wa'ad political party. He was a member of the Bahrain 13, a group of high profile activists arrested, tortured and sentenced by military court in 2011. He was released in June 2015, but rear rested weeks later and sentenced to another year in prison for a political speech he gave calling for continued peaceful opposition. Sharif was released from prison in July 2016. He is currently on travel ban.

    Read the letter here.

     

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses deep concern about the recent summoning of human rights defender Hussain Radhi, a member of BCHR’s documentation team. BCHR condemns the continued judicial harassment directed against human rights defenders, including Hussain Radhi, for exercising the right to freedom of expression online,

     

    Hussain Radhi was recently charged by the Public Prosecution with “inciting hatred against the regime, threatening civil peace and publishing false news.” He was summoned to appear on 17 November 2016 in front of the Public Prosecution to be interrogated over tweets and retweets. These tweets allegedly documented protests in Bahraini villages, the suppression of protests by the authorities, the arrests of protesters or activists, the siege on the village of Duraz, and some tweets regarding statements made by UN experts about religious discrimination in Bahrain. Radhi denied all the charges brought against him.

     

    Radhi had been notified that he was being charged just before the 33rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council began in September. On 23 August 2016, the authorities banned Radhi from traveling as he was attempting to leave Bahrain to participate in the UNHRC’s 33rd Session in Geneva. He was informed by the airport staff that the travel ban was based on an order of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). When Radhi requested the removal of the ban by the Public Prosecution, his request was rejected and, on top of that, he was informed that he was being charged for remarks he had allegedly made on Twitter.

     

    Bahraini authorities have targeted Radhi in the past. On 12 June 2016, the authorities also prevented him from travelling to attend the UNHRC’s 32nd Session in Geneva. In February 2015, Radhi was tried for charges of “illegal assembly” in Manama, but was eventually acquitted. He had previously been arrested on 25 January 2013 in a similar case, when he was monitoring protests and human rights violations as part of his human rights work, and was kept in detention for more than two weeks.

     

    The case of Radhi is one among many other human rights defenders who have been summoned, charged or tried for exercising their right to freedom of expression. In the past few days, four other key members of BCHR have been summoned and interrogated by the Public Prosecution. Security forces surrounded the house of BCHR’s Advocacy Officer, Asma Darwish, to summon her for interrogation over “illegal assembly”; although Darwish has been living abroad for over a year now. Nedal Al-Salman, BCHR’s Head of International Relations and Women & Children’s Rights Advocacy, was interrogated on 15 November 2016 over charges of illegal gathering. The same goes for Enas Oun, Head of BCHR’s Documentation Unit, who was summoned on 13 November 2016 and accused of organizing an assembly on June 2016 in the Al-Dair area. Ahmad Al-Saffar, member of BCHR and human rights defender, was also interrogated by the Public Prosecution on 13 November, and charged with “illegal assembly.” Following the interrogations, all three were released.

     
     

    Nabeel Rajab, well-known human rights defender and President of BCHR, has been detained for 158 days since his arrest on 13 June 2016; he is awaiting his trial on 15 December 2016 at the High Criminal Court. Rajab was charged with allegations related to tweets and retweets about human rights violations, and for the Op-ed article from the “New York Times”. If convicted, Rajab could face up to 15 years in prison.

     

    BCHR is alarmed with the on-going and escalated targeting of its members through travel bans, summoning and prosecution. These reprisal measures negatively impact the possibility of our human rights defenders to pursue their work, for fear of being arbitrarily accused of a criminal offense.

     

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the Government of Bahrain to:

     

    Stop all kinds of harassment against human rights defender Hussain Radhi; and

    Cease targeting BCHR’s members, and all human rights defenders who peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression.

     
     
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    Five years have passed since the government agreed to adopt the measures the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report said were needed to address the serious human rights violations committed during the 2011 uprising and hold those suspected to be responsible to account. The Bahraini government claims that the human rights oversight bodies it created, the Ombudsman of the Ministry of Interior and the Special Investigations Unit, have served this purpose. The two institutions were given wide-reaching mandates and resources to ensure accountability, and have received support and training from in particular the UK government. They have achieved some successes in investigating and prosecuting human rights violations. However, they have too often failed to fulfil their roles in a sufficiently prompt, adequate and transparent manner to ensure accountability and act as an effective deterrent. Much work is still needed to break the country’s long-standing culture of impunity. The Ombudsman and the Special Investigations Unit need to urgently address their failings if they are not to lose credibility. In particular, they must ensure all alleged human rights violations are investigated in an effective, adequate, transparent and prompt manner and those responsible are brought to justice.

     

    Read the full report here.

    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

older | 1 | .... | 51 | 52 | (Page 53) | 54 | 55 | .... | 79 | newer