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    On 16 January 2017, a Bahraini court will begin hearing the trial of the correspondent for Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya and France24, Nazeeha Saeed, who was was charged on 17 July 2016 with “practicing journalism without a license.” We, the undersigned human rights organizations, condemn the judicial harassment of Saeed for her work as a journalist and call on the Government of Bahrain to drop all charges against her and suspend its campaign against foreign reporters.

    The case against Nazeeha Saeed was filed based on a Ministry of Information Affairs complaint that Saeed was reporting for an international press body without a license. Saeed applied to renew her foreign media work permit in March 2016, in accordance with the Bahraini press law. The Ministry of Information Affairs rejected Saeed’s license renewal without providing legal grounds.

    Saeed has been charged under the “publishing crimes” chapter, in Article 88 of Law 47/2002, under which all Bahraini journalists working for foreign news agencies are prevented from freely conducting their work without first acquiring a license from the Ministry of the Information Affairs, which must be renewed annually. The law provides no criteria or definitive timelines for the renewal process, nor does it provide any means for transparency of the process.

    Saeed is a torture survivor. Describing her torture in police custody in 2011, Saeed said she was blindfolded, kicked, punched, and slapped. Her hair was pulled, she was whipped with plastic tubing, had a shoe forced into her mouth and her head dunked into a toilet. An unknown, caustic liquid said to be urine was poured onto her face, she was repeatedly insulted and mentally abused and asked to make a false confession. Although she had three independant medical reports - two of them issued by Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior - and she was also able to identify her five torturers, no one was held accountable for her torture. During June and July 2016 Saeed faced further harassments the government imposed a travel ban on her without any explanation. The ban was later lifted.

    In addition to Saeed, the Ministry of Information Affairs has denied license renewals to at least three other Bahrain-based reporters for Reuters, Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press. Since 2011, Bahrain has placed extensive restrictions on foreign media access to the country, having denied over 100 journalists entry to the country in an effort to stop international media coverage of the ongoing political and civil unrest.

    Bahrain’s actions to prosecute and silence foreign correspondents is in violation of the freedom of expression as protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    We therefore express our deep concern about the Government of Bahrain’s continued efforts to undermine the right to freedom of expression and call on the government to:

    • Drop all charges against Nazeeha Saeed;
    • Allow all journalists and reporters to conduct their work freely and independently, and to fully respect their right to freedom of expression.

    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)

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    David Cameron visited Bahrain this week to meet with the Kingdom's Crown Prince and business leaders, Middle East Eye can reveal.

    The visit, which saw Cameron thanked for his “prominent role” in advancing Bahrain-UK ties, comes after recent reports that the former Prime Minister is following in the footsteps of Tony Blair and has set up a private firm to handle his post-10 Downing Street affairs.

    The former Prime Minister, whose period in office saw ever closer diplomatic and military ties with Bahrain despite ongoing human rights concerns, arrived in the country on Tuesday and held meetings with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

    Read more here.

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    The government is facing fresh questions about Britain’s aid strategy after it emerged that a controversial multi-million pound programme of support for Bahrain’s security and justice system is being bolstered this year, even as the Gulf state reverses reforms to a key intelligence agency accused of torture.

    Data provided under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Bahraini authorities will this year receive a further £2m of British funding, including aid money drawn from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, a pot of aid money currently the focus of an investigation by UK MPs.

    Read more here.

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    Bahrain stepped up its repression of activists and government critics during 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The government dissolved the main political opposition group and prosecuted leading human rights activists and Shia clerics.

    The authorities also prevented numerous activists from leaving the country and deported six Bahrainis, including a human rights lawyer, after arbitrarily stripping them of their citizenship. This orchestrated crackdown on the rights to free expression, assembly, and association was a marked deterioration in the human rights situation and further undermined the prospects of a political solution to Bahrain’s domestic unrest.

    Read more here.

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    There was a marked deterioration in the human rights situation in Bahrain in mid-2016, when authorities dissolved the main political opposition group, al-Wifaq, jailed the country’s leading human rights activist, and harassed and prosecuted Shia clerics who peacefully protested the arbitrary revocation of the citizenship of al-Wifaq’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Isa Qasim. This orchestrated crackdown on the rights to free expression, assembly and association undermined prospects for a political solution to Bahrain’s domestic unrest.

    Authorities made little progress in holding officials accountable for the mistreatment and torture of detainees, continued to arbitrarily strip citizenship from Bahrainis who have been critical of the government, and subjected civil society actors to arbitrary travel bans.

    Read the report in full here.

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    Since 13 December 2016, Kumail Ahmed Hamida, who suffers from learning difficulties, has been in police custody, after reportedly falling victim to arbitrary arrest and torture. The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights expresses its deep concern at the Bahraini authorities’ ongoing policy of arbitrary arrest and torture to produce confessions, which is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 of which stipulates: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

    Hamida was arrested after his home in Sanabis District was raided by masked civil forces at 04:30 on the morning of 13 December 2016. His father tried to explain that he suffers from learning difficulties, and attempted to show them medical records to prove his condition. The forces did not show any warrant for the search or the arrest. After his arrest, his family received a phone call from him on the same day, and were informed that he was being detained at the Criminal Investigations Headquarters, where he remained until 16 December 2016. On that day they learned, from another telephone call from him, that he had been transferred to Dry Dock Prison. During this time, the family had received incorrect information from the ombudsman, who said he had already been transferred to Dry Dock Prison, when in fact he was still at the Criminal Investigations Headquarters. His family were given no information as to the reasons for his arrest and detention.

    On 21 December 2016 his relatives were able to visit him for the first time. They later informed BCHR that, during the visit, they saw marks caused by torture, especially an injury from his lower lip to his chin. He told his family that the beating had focused on his ears, to the extent that he was unable to hear fully. He was also electrocuted on the soles of his feet, and hot water was poured on his body to force a confession to charges of unlawful assembly, photographing without permission and taking part in protests. He added that, immediately after being transferred to Dry Dock Prison, he was beaten by police in the detention centre.

    Hamida appeared before the prosecutor general without the presence of a lawyer. Despite his father showing documents that proved his learning difficulty, and Hamida’s denial of the charges, the prosecutor general ordered that he be detained for a further 15 days pending investigation. His detention was then extended for a further 14 days, and again extended on 12 January 2017 for further 15 days.
    In addition to his learning difficulties, Hamida’s family report that he also suffers from back pain.

    BCHR condemns in the strongest terms the prosecutor general’s involvement in the extended detention of an individual suffering from documented learning difficulties, amid allegations of torture to force a confession.

    BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain to do the following:

    • Immediately and unconditionally release Kumail Ahmed Hamida
    • Put a stop to the practice of arbitrary arrest
    • Respect Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as Article 7 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, both of which stipulate that no individual must be subjected to torture, or to treatment or punishment that is cruel, inhuman or degrading.
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    On 11 January Member of the Parliament Lars Aslan Rasmussen used the open session in Folketinget (Danish Parliament) to inquire on the actions planned by the Danish Foreign Minister to secure the release of Danish Bahraini citizen and human rights defender Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. Alkhajawa has been serving a life sentence in prison since 22 June 2012 by a military court.

    See below the trascript of Rasmussen and ForeIGN Minister Anders Samuelsen (translated from Danish by BCHR staff).

    English verion

    1.4) Question number S 475: Regarding help for the Danish citizen and human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    How does the foreign minister intend to help the Danish citizen and human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is a political prisoner in the dictator state Bahrain?

    Anders Samuelsen, Foreign Minister:

    As the person who is asking the question will know, this is an individual case and is bound by confidentiality. The nature of the case limits what I am able to say in this forum. Let me also remind you that the case has been under ongoing, confidential treatment in the Foreign Policy Committee, which is the proper place to discuss cases like this. Now for my answer. Changing Danish foreign ministers have since 2011 worked actively to find a humanitarian solution, which would involve a release of the Danish-Bahraini citizen, and rehabilitation and treatment for the torture he has been subjected to during his imprisonment. Naturally I intend to continue this policy. The work being done to solve the case is both political and diplomatic, in the shape of contacts in Bahrain and international cooperation. The dialogue with Bahrain is taking place out of the public eye in the interest of finding a solution. Denmark has also raised the issue numerous times at meetings in UN’s Human Rights Council, last time on the 19th of September 2016, where Denmark called for Bahrain to release imprisoned political prisoners including the Danish-Bahraini citizen. Simultaneously, the ministry of foreign affairs provides consular aid through the embassy in Riyadh by visiting the mentioned person regularly in prison, as is done normally when Danish citizens are imprisoned abroad. Finally, the ministry of foreign affairs is in regular contact with the family. We continue the work unrepentantly; however, unfortunately I can’t promise a quick solution.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    Thank you, of course I completely understand and the minister is also new and a lot of stuff is being done. I want to ask whether the foreign minister is aware that there has been and action against this prison in Bahrain a week ago in which 7 political prisoners escaped and that the regime has since tightened its grip further, is the ministry of foreign affairs aware of this situation?

    Anders Samuelsen, Foreign Minister:

    The embassy in Riyadh is not aware that the circumstances in the prison in general or specifically for the Danish-Bahraini citizen have worsened since the escape.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    So that means I am to take it that you will continue the same policy as previously where, of course there have been some visits, but I think it would be fair to say that not a lot hashappened. I know that all the foreign ministers want al-Khawaja freed, but is it possible that the new foreign minister might go into the case more actively than previously seen?

    Anders Samuelsen, Foreign Minister:

    I will continue the intense focus on this case as previously.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    And that will exclusively be on the matter of al- Khawaja or can maybe from the Danish government expect a general criticism of the fact that this is one of the countries with most political prisoners in in the world?

    Anders Samuelsen, Foreign Minister:

    I have nothing further to add. The policy will continue and we will follow up on the case. That is the opinion of the minister.

     

    Dansk

    1.4) Spm. nr. S 475: Om hjælp til den danske statsborger og menneskerettighedsaktivist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    Hvad har udenrigsministeren tænkt sig at gøre for at hjælpe den danske statsborger og menneskerettighedsaktivist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, der sidder som politisk fange i diktaturstaten Bahrain?

    Anders Samuelsen, udenrigsminister:

    Som det vil være spørgeren bekendt er der tale om en personsag, som er underlagt tavshedspligt. Det giver i sagens natur begrænsninger på, hvad jeg kan oplyse i dette forum. Lad mig også erindre om, at sagen løbende er blevet behandlet i fortrolighed i udenrigspolitisk nævn, som er det rette sted at drøfte denne type sager. Nu til mit svar. Skiftende danske udenrigsministre har siden 2011 arbejdet aktivt for at finde en humanitær løsning, som indebærer at den dansk-bahrainske statsborger kan løslades og få rehabilitering og behandling for den tortur som han har været udsat for i forbindelse med den fængslingen. Jeg vil naturligvis fortsætte den linje. Arbejdet med sagen foregår både på politisk og diplomatisk niveau, i form af kontakter med Bahrain og internationale samarbejdspartnere. Dialogen med Bahrain foregår uden offentlighed af hensyn til muligheden for at finde en løsning. Danmark har også taget sagen op adskillige gange ved samlinger i FN’s menneskerettighedsråd senest d. 19. september 2016, hvor Danmark opfordrede Bahrain til løsladelse af fængslede politiske fanger herunder den dansk-bahrainske statsborger. Samtidig yder udenrigsministeriet via ambassaden i Riyadh konsulær bistand til omtalte i form af regelmæssige fængselsbesøg som det også sker med andre danske statsborgere der er fængslet i udlandet. Endelig har udenrigsministeriet regelmæssig kontakt med familien. Vi fortsætter arbejdet ufortrødent, men jeg kan desværre ikke love en hurtig løsning på sagen.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    Tak, jeg har selvfølgelig fuldt ud forståelse og udenrigsministeren er også ny og der bliver gjort en masse ting. Jeg vil spørge om udenrigsministeren er opmærksom på, at der har jo været en aktion mod det her fængsel i Bahrain for en uge siden hvor 7 politiske fanger flygtede og at regimet siden har strammet grebet yderligere, om det er en situation som man er opmærksom på fra dansk udenrigsministeries side?

    Anders Samuelsen, udenrigsminister:

    Øhm, ambassaden i Riyadh er ikke bekendt med at de generelle forhold i fængslet eller for den dansk-bahrainske statsborger skulle være blevet forværret siden fangeflugten.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    Det vil sige, at jeg skal forstå det sådan at vil man lægge den samme linje som man hele tiden har gjort hvor der er, der har selvfølgelig været nogle besøg, men der er ikke sket så meget kan vi også godt sige og jeg ved godt at alle udenrigsministre gerne vil have al-Khawaja fri, kunne man forestille sig, at den nye udenrigsminister måske ville gå endnu mere aktivt ind i sagen end det hidtil har været tilfældet?

    Anders Samuelsen, udenrigsminister:

    Jeg vil fastholde samme intense fokus på den her sag som der har været hidtil gældende.

    Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S):

    Og det vil så udelukkende blive holdt til al-Khawaja eller kan vi også måske fra den danske regerings side forvente en generel kritik af at det er et af de lande i hele verden der har flest politiske fanger?

    Anders Samuelsen, udenrigsminister:

    Jeg har ikke noget yderligere at tilføje. Linjen vil blive forfulgt, vi vil følge op på sagen løbende og det er det der er indstillingen herfra.

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    15 January 2017 – Bahrain today executed three torture victims following authorisation by King Hamad. Sami Mushaima (42), Ali Al-Singace (21) and Abbas Al-Samea (27) were executed this morning by firing squad, the first people executed in Bahrain since July 2010, and the first Bahrainis executed since March 1996. The execution came less than a week after the Court of Cassation upheld their death sentence on 9 January. We, the undersigned, condemn Bahrain’s violation of the individuals’ rights to life and their rights not to be tortured, and complete failure to consider and investigate the torture under which their confessions, the basis of their convictions, were extracted.

    Events began yesterday, 14 January, when reports indicated that the security forces were preparing to carry out the death sentences. Authorities in the legal department at the Central Jau Prison, where the three are held, called their families on the morning to schedule mandatory visits for later that day. This directive is in accordance with Article 330 of Bahrain’s Criminal Procedure Code, which states that relatives of persons scheduled for execution will be permitted a final visit before the sentence is carried out.

    Contrary to standard visitation practice, when the families arrived at the prison they were taken in police cars to a second location and very heavily searched. The families described being surrounded by over fifty police officers. Al-Samea, Al-Singace and Mushaima had not been informed of these procedures and were surprised by the events. Prior to the announcement of the executions, the families told NGOs that they believed the procedures were implemented as preparations before carrying out the death sentences.

    Sami Mushaima, Ali Al-Singace and Abbas Al-Samea are all torture victims rendered stateless and condemned to death following unfair trials (see more below). Their executions have sparked widespread protests across the country. Activists stated yesterday that some 200 family visits to Jau Prison previously scheduled for today had been cancelled.

    Husain Abdulla, Executive Director, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain: “The death sentences were authorised by King Hamad himself. He condemned to death victims of senseless torture, and their blood is on his hands. The international community must show solidarity with the families of Abbas, Ali and Sami and condemn this execution. The United States in particular should re-impose its arms ban.”

    Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy: “This is a black day in Bahrain’s history. It is the most heinous crime committed by the Government of Bahrain and a shame upon its rulers, which knew about the torture of the three. It has been the subject of complaints and was raised by the defence in their trials, and been utterly ignored. King Hamad’s decision to have them killed shows a new contempt to the victims of Bahrain’s abuses. This act is a security threat to Bahrain and the entire region. The United Kingdom has repeatedly failed to condemn violations and allowed itself to be complicit in these events.”

    On 14 January, BIRD, ADHRB and the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) wrote to the government of the United Kingdom urging for immediate action to be taken. Alongside Reprieve, they also wrote to the United States and European External Action Service. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions called on Bahrain to stop the execution.

    Lead up to the Executions: Torture and an Unfair Trial

    The Court of Cassation, the highest court of appeals, upheld the death sentences of Sami Mushaima, Abbas Al-Samea, and Ali Abdulshaheed Al-Singace on Monday 9 January 2017. The court papers, which BIRD has analysed, show that the Court rejected and ignored the allegations of torture brought by the defence without proper investigation.

    The three, alongside seven other defendants sentenced to prison terms, were arrested nearly three years ago, on and after 3 March 2014. Security forces arrested them in house raids on charges of allegedly using improvised explosive devices which led to the death of three police officers, one of them an Emirati citizen. State-sponsored media quickly published photos of the defendants accusing them of murder before the investigation was completed. On 26 February 2015, the High Criminal Court convicted them of all charges and handed down the defendants’ sentences, including stripping them of their citizenship. We, the undersigned, have previously condemned the sentence for unfair trial procedures and the use of evidence extracted under conditions of torture.

    In October 2016, the government ordered a retrial for the eight defendants, and last month, an appeals court upheld the death sentence against al-Samea, al-Singace, and Mushaima. After just one month, the Court of Cassation convened to uphold the sentence a final time. The three individuals were facing imminent execution after exhausting all legal remedies.

    We have previously recorded the torture allegations of Abbas Al-Samea and Sami Mushaima, two of the three sentenced to death. Al-Samea, a teacher, was at school at the time of the bombing incident. Sami Mushaima is illiterate. Bahraini authorities subjected them to torture and convicted them of plotting and carrying out the attack. The Court of Cassation claimed that “there was no evidence of coercion in the case documents.” No investigation into the torture allegations was conducted during any of the several trial stages.

    Abbas al-Samea was arrested on 3 March 2014, three hours after the bombing incident that sparked the arrests. Security forces repeatedly kicked him in the head and body and hit him in the face with a gun. After arriving at the General Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID), security forces took al-Samea into a series of rooms, subjecting him to different kinds of torture in each one. In one room security forces handcuffed and stripped al-Samea naked before kicking him repeatedly in his genitals. In another room, five officers stood on al-Samea’s chest. Security forces also subjected al-Samea to electric shocks in private and sensitive areas, including his genitals. Security forces beat al-Samea while he was suspended from the ceiling and denied him access to food and water for three days. Al-Samea has also reported that the Public Prosecutor threatened him with additional torture if he did not confess to being culpable in the explosion.

    Forces also arrested Sami Mushaima in March 2014 and held them incommunicado for at least 11 days. Security officials subjected Mushaima to beatings, electrocution, and sexual assault. His front teeth were severely damaged. Mushaima’s family believes he was coerced into falsely confessing through the use of torture.

    Additionally, during their detention at Jau Prison, a riot took place at the facility on 10 March 2015 in protest of overcrowding and the abusive treatment of inmates. The riot, in which only a minority of inmates participated, was met with excessive force. Officer collectively punished hundreds of prisoners, which included beatings and humiliation. A small number of prisoners, Al-Samea among them, were selected for transfer to “Building 10,” where reports allege authorities subject detainees to severe torture. Al-Samea’s nose was broken and his teeth were knocked out.

    Two other persons facing imminent execution in Bahrain. In addition to today’s victims, in 2015 the Court of Cassation upheld the sentences of Mohammad Ramadan and Husain Moosa, sentenced to death in 2014 for their alleged role in the death of a policeman. They now face imminent execution. Both allege that they were tortured. Ramadan maintains that someone from the government has told him they knew he was innocent, but that he was a traitor deserving of these violations.

    We, the undersigned, condemn today’s executions, which violated Sami Mushaima, Abbas Al-Samea and Ali Al-Singace’s right to life. We call on the Government of Bahrain to:

    • Instate a moratorium on the death penalty.
    • Investigate the torture of Sami Mushaima, Abbas Al-Samea and Ali Al-Singace, prosecute their torturers and compensate their families for their torture and deaths.
    • Allow immediate the entry of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.
    • Ratify and accede to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture (OP-CAT)

    We call on the governments of the United Kingdom and United States to:

    • Publicly and unequivocally condemn today’s executions
    • Instate a complete arms ban against the Bahraini government until the above mentioned recommendations and promised human rights reforms have all been implemented

    Signed,

    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

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    In response to the execution today of three men accused of killing three police officers in Bahrain Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Campaigns in Beirut, Samah Hadid said:

    “This is a dark day for human rights in Bahrain. These executions – the first to be carried out since 2010 - are a deeply regressive step for a country whose authorities’ have repeatedly trumpeted their commitment to human rights. 

    Read More Here.

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    Bahrain on Sunday carried out its first executions since an Arab Spring uprising rocked the country in 2011, putting to death three men found guilty of a deadly bomb attack on police.
     
    The executions of the Shiite men drew swift condemnation from the human rights groups and sparked intense protests by opponents of the Sunni-ruled government, who see the charges as politically motivated. Activists allege that testimony used against the condemned men was obtained through torture. 
     
    Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in several predominantly Shiite communities to protest the executions. 
     
    Read More Here.
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    It was confirmed earlier today that the Kingdom of Bahrain carried out the execution of three people convicted for a bomb attack against the police which killed 3 policemen.  

    The EU reiterates its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. This case is a serious drawback given that Bahrain had suspended executions for the past seven years, and concerns have been expressed about possible violations of the right to a fair process for the three convicted. 

    The EU rejects violence as a political tool and fully supports the stability and development of the Kingdom of Bahrain, but believes this can only be achieved through a sustainable and inclusive national reconciliation process.

    Read More Here.

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    Bahrain says a city hall was set ablaze during a night of clashes between police and protesters following the execution of three men convicted of a deadly bombing targeting police.

    Bahrain's Interior Ministry said Monday the blaze at the Northern City Hall appeared intentional. It said firefighters were able to contain it.

    Hundreds protested Sunday over the three Shiite men put to death by firing squad over the 2014 bombing that killed two Bahraini policemen and an Emirati officer.

    Opponents of Bahrain's Sunni-ruled kingdom saw the men's charges as politically motivated and alleged the men were tortured.

    Read More Here.

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    A HUMAN rights group has voiced concern amid claims that three executed prisoners in Bahrain were held in a jail whose staff received training from a Belfast-based firm.

    Read More Here.

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    Bahrain on Sunday executed three Shia Muslim men convicted of killing three policemen in a 2014 bomb attack, the first such executions in over two decades, drawing condemnation from foreign officials in the region and beyond.

    Activists in Bahrain reacted with rage to the move, calling it a "black day" for the Gulf Arab kingdom' and posting images of protesters clashing with police on social media. 

    The executions came less than a week after the country's highest court confirmed the punishment against Abbas al-Samea, 27, Sami Mushaima, 42, and Ali al-Singace, 21, found guilty of killing one Emirati and two Bahraini police officers.

    Read More Here.

    ahrain on Sunday executed three Shia Muslim men convicted of killing three policemen in a 2014 bomb attack, the first such executions in over two decades, drawing condemnation from foreign officials in the region and beyond.

    Activists in Bahrain reacted with rage to the move, calling it a "black day" for the Gulf Arab kingdom' and posting images of protesters clashing with police on social media. 

    The executions came less than a week after the country's highest court confirmed the punishment against Abbas al-Samea, 27, Sami Mushaima, 42, and Ali al-Singace, 21, found guilty of killing one Emirati and two Bahraini police officers.

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    International human rights organization Reprieve has criticised the response of the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to Bahrain’s execution this morning of three men.

    The three men, Ali Al-Singace (21), Abbas Al-Samea (27) and Sami Mushaima (42), were executed by firing squad after being convicted on the basis of forced ‘confessions’.

    Read More Here.

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    Britain is facing calls to loosen its ties with Bahrain after three Shia Muslim men convicted of killing an Emirati police officer and two Bahraini police officers in a 2014 bomb attack were executed.

    The death sentences on Sunday were the first to be carried out in Bahrain since 2010, and protesters claimed that confessions were extracted under torture.

    Read More Here.

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    Foreign Secretary comments following the execution of three men in Bahrain.

    The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

    "The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, and it is our longstanding position to oppose capital sentences in all circumstances. The Bahraini authorites are fully aware of our position and I have raised the issue with the Bahraini Government."

    Read the Statement Here.

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    17 January 2017 - Bahrain’s Ministry of Information Affairs (MIA) yesterday issued an order to suspend the only independent newspaper in the country, Alwasat, from using electronic media tools, effectively suspending its online presence. The order comes a day day after the execution of three torture victims, and on the day the trial of journalist Nazeeha Saeed started for “unlicensed journalism”.. We, the undersigned NGOs, condemn the attack on the freedom of the press, and the ongoing harassment to the Alwasat newspaper.

    The MIA alleges that Al-Wasat has been "inciting spirit of division and harming national unity," but  provided no further basis for this accusation. The MIA ban is partial, and Alwasat’s print edition has not been suspended from publication. The MIA’s action and reasoning unreasonably restrict the newspaper’s expression and the freedom of the press. AlWasat is the only newspaper in Bahrain that led its 16 January print edition with frontpage headlines of the 15 January execution. The  Alwasat’s article featured photos of the executed victims, along with views of the independent local and international NGOs, and reporting on the popular reaction on the streets.

    Alwasat frontpage on 16 Jan 2017

    Despite harassments, Alwasat newspaper have been active in covering the local news with independent views to certain limits, and had a wide reach. Alwasat’s website is consistently ranked among the most popular websites in Bahrain, and in January 2017 was the highest-ranking site in the country, according to ranking site Alexa.

    The suppression of Alwasat’s online edition came a day after Bahrain executed Ali Al-Singace (21), Abbas Al-Samea (27) and Sami Mushaima (42) by firing squad, the first political execution in Bahrain since 1996. The three were convicted on anti-terrorism charges in an unfair trial based on evidence extracted under condition of torture. The trial and appeals hearings lacked basic fair trial guarantees, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions has condemned their executions as “extrajudicial killings.”

    Alwasat, established 2002, is the only newspaper in Bahrain financially and editorially independent from the state, and has been the subject to ongoing and repeated acts of harassment in the past few years. In 2010, it was banned from broadcasting audio reports and interviews on its website. In April 2011, the MIA suspended the newspaper from publishing for a day , and only allowed it to resume operations after the resignation of senior editorial staff, including its editor-in-chief, Dr. Mansoor Al Jamri, and their replacement with pro-government staff; the company’s board later reinstated the editor-in-chief. . Karim Al-Fakhrawi, a businessman and co-founder of Alwasat, was arrested in April 2011 and died under the custody of the National Security Agency (NSA) under conditions of torture. The NSA, which was stripped of law enforcement powers in November 2011, recently had its powers reinstated.

    In 2015, the MIA suspended the newspaper a second time for two days, allegedly because the paper had not to used the term “martyrs” in a report on Bahraini military casualties in Yemen. In January 2016, the MIA banned newspapers from using youtube for video reports, and Alwasat was forced to close its video section until August 2016, when the MOIA legislated to regulate newspaper video content. This regulation includes a 2-minute length limit to videos and registration of the operating staff with the MIA. Several of the newspapers editors and columnist have faced prosecutions for their posts over the years.

    The repeated suspension of the newspaper and this latest suspension put the newspaper at significant financial risk as it is deprived of revenues from online advertising and subscriptions to its online archive. Inducing financial pressures on Alwasat will contribute to the restriction of media freedoms in Bahrain. In 2010, another independent newspaper, Al-Waqt, had to close doors due to financial difficulties caused by lack of advertisement aid

    Bahrain’s restrictions of media freedoms have been even wider reaching. Bahrain has denied multiple Bahraini reporters working for foreign news outlets from renewing their annual foreign correspondence licenses, restricting their work, and denied entry to even more independent reporters. The blocking of the only independent newspaper’s website will contribute to a media blackout on Bahrain news from reaching to the outside world and undermine the freedom of speech and expression in the country.
     

    Based on the above, we urge the Government of Bahrain to:

    • Cancel immediately the decision to suspend Al-Wasat newspaper from using electronic media and allow it to use all means of information transfer and sharing.  
    • Stop the continuous targeting of journalists and to guarantee a healthy environment for them to exercise their duty to the fullest, without pressure or intimidation; allowing entry of foreign reporters and the resumption of work for Bahraini staff of foreign media outlets.
    • Show full respect for the freedom of the press, and repeal the laws that restrict the peaceful exercise to the right to freedom of expression, in line with Bahrain’s obligations under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    Signed,

    Bahrain Center for Human Rights

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy

    Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

    European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights

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    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Bahraini authorities ordered an independent newspaper to stop publishing online Monday and said a city hall was set ablaze during clashes between opposition protesters and police.

    The suspension of Al-Wasat's online operations followed a spike in anti-government protests led by the country's Shiite majority that began Saturday. The demonstrations accelerated after three men convicted of a deadly bombing targeting police were put to death Sunday.

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    NEW DELHI: India has taken up with Bahrain at a high level the issue of non-payment of salary to Indian workers, one of whom died during a protest against the employer, the External Affairs Ministry said today.  

    "M/s G. P. Zachariadis Overseas Ltd., a construction company which employs nearly 1,500 Indian workers has been faced with severe financial hardship. This has resulted in non-payment of salary/dues to workers employed by the company. On 3rd January 2017, nearly 350 workers at a site went on strike due to non-payment of salary for nearly two months." 

    Read More Here

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