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    TO:

    Ministry of Interior Ombudsman

    10th Floor, Bronze Towers

    Building 204, Road 2803, Block 428

    Seef District

    P.O. Box 23452

    Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

     

    National Security Agency Ombudsman

    8th Floor, Brown’s Tower

    Building 204, Road 2803, Block 428

    Seef District

    P.O. Box 61016

    Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

     

    National Institution for Human Rights

    Building 2771, Road 2835, Block 428

    Seef District

    Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

     

    Special Investigation Unit

    Public Prosecution Office

    Diplomatic Area

    P.O. Box 450

    Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

     

    23 August 2017

    We write to seek clarification on the reasons for the detention, current legal status, and detention location of Sayed Alawi Hussain al-Alawi, 43, and to raise our concern that he is at high risk of torture or other ill-treatment, and that the ongoing denial of information to his families as to his whereabouts is tantamount to enforced disappearance.

    Sayed Alawi has been detained for over nine months, with no access to a lawyer or to his family since his arrest. During this time, he was allowed only four brief phone calls to his family, who has repeatedly inquired during this time about the reasons for and location of his detention. To date, the authorities have not provided this information.

    Sayed Alawi was arrested at his work in Muharraq by four armed men in civilian clothing at around 4pm on 24 October 2016. His work phone and computer were confiscated. The same day his wife filed a missing person report at Budaya police station. Staff at the station contacted all detention facilities falling under the control of the Ministry of Interior, including the Central Investigation Directorate (CID), as well as hospitals and ports in Bahrain, and they all asserted to the police station staff that they knew nothing about his whereabouts. About 45 minutes after his wife left the police station, she received a call from a staff member of the station saying that he was being held at the CID and asking her to cancel the missing person report, which she did. On 26 October, the family went to the CID and was told by CID staff that he was not there.

    Despite CID staff initially denying several times to the family that Sayed Alawi was in their custody, his wife received a call from the CID on 3 November at about 6pm stating that he had been transferred to Dry Dock prison. When his family went to Dry Dock prison on 6 November, the prison authorities told them that he was not in their custody and referred his family to the Public Prosecution Office (PPO), which likewise denied having him in their custody. On 10 November, Sayed Alawi’s family handed in a letter to the PPO requesting to visit him, but they received no response.

    On 27 November, Sayed Alawi called his family in a four-minute phone call and told them that he was being held at the CID. According to his family, he sounded exhausted. When his family called the PPO on 4 December to follow up on their visit request, they were told that the PPO had not looked at their first letter and were asked to send another visit request, which they did. His family was also told by the PPO that Sayed Alawi had been taken to the Terrorism Prosecution Unit but did not say under what charges or when this had taken place.

    On 14 December, Sayed Alawi called his family for around eight minutes and told them he was at the CID. When his family asked him again where he was and what charges were being brought against him, the line went dead.

    Sayed Alawi’s family has made numerous attempts to contact the CID for information and to arrange a visit with Sayed Alawi but without success. On 22 January 2017 the family requested a meeting with the director of the CID who declined to meet them, but on 23 January they received a call saying that they had an appointment with the director the next day at 10am. However, this meeting was not with the director as they had been informed it would be. They were instead met by a man who said that the case was confidential and that he could not disclose any information. When they asked him who he was, he only said that his name was Faisal. When his family told the man that they expected him to have information as they had been told to meet with him, he became furious and repeated that the case was confidential and that he could not give details.

    Amnesty International wrote to the Minister of Interior and Public Prosecutor on 13 January 2017 to seek urgent clarification regarding the reasons for Sayed Alawi’s arrest, his detention location and the legal basis for that detention but received no response.

    The family has also filed multiple complaints with Bahrain’s human rights institutions. On 1 December Sayed Alawi’s wife filed a complaint at the Ombudsman’s office stating that they were worried about his safety as they had not been granted a visit, had only received a call from him once (as the second call had not yet happened), and he had not been allowed access to a lawyer. They requested that he be examined by a forensic doctor. No reference number was assigned for their complaint. The family followed up on this complaint on five separate occasions before they were told on 10 January 2017 that the complaint had been transferred to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and that they should stop contacting the Ombudsman.

    Sayed Alawi’s family had already made a complaint to the SIU on 12 December 2016. The case was logged and given reference number 331/2016. The family contacted the SIU again on 11 January 2017 to follow up on this complaint but was told that there was no news and that the SIU would contact the family when they had any further information. However, they followed up with the SIU again on 16 March, 20 March, and again on 2 April, but have not received any information.

    The family has also made several enquiries with the National Institute for Human Rights (NIHR). On 15 December 2016, the NIHR responded saying that visits were not being allowed to protect the investigation. They followed up again on 20 December and on 29 December, and Sayed Alawi’s wife was given an appointment at the NIHR. The two staff members she met told her they were unaware of the case, so she filed a new complaint (reference number M_14) requesting that the NIHR investigate the disappearance of Sayed Alawi, find out the reason for his arrest, call for his examination by a doctor, and ensure he be granted family and lawyer visits. On 4 January 2017 Sayed Alawi’s lawyer also wrote a letter to NIHR requesting they investigate the whereabouts of his client. The family has since tried to follow up with the NIHR on 9 January by phone, but has yet to receive any information.

    Amnesty International had a meeting with His Excellency Saeed Mohamed Alfaihani, Chairman of the NIHR on 21 June 2017. In this meeting Amnesty International raised Sayed Alawi’s case and requested information from the NIHR on what investigation it has conducted and what information it has ascertained. Amnesty International was told that the family had only made a complaint about the lack of phone calls and that the family would have to lodge a new complaint in writing.

    In the nine months since his arrest, Sayed Alawi has not had access to a lawyer and has had a total of four short phone calls to his family, the last phone call on 27 July lasting only one minute.

    The right of access to a lawyer is a fundamental safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment, and is one of the key norms established for a fair trial under international human rights standards. It is important to enable detainees to challenge their detention at an early stage and serves as an important safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment, coerced “confessions”, enforced disappearance and other human rights violations. It also enables individuals suspected of or charged with a criminal offence to protect their rights and begin to prepare their defense.

    In addition, persons deprived of their liberty should also be able to communicate and have contact with family members and friends, as well as medical professionals. Access should be given subject only to conditions and restrictions which are necessary and proportionate to a legitimate aim. Under international law and standards, anyone who is arrested and detained has the right to inform, or have the authorities notify, someone in the outside world that they have been taken into custody and where they are held. In addition, they should be given all reasonable facilities to communicate with and receive visits from their family. Like the right of access to a lawyer, the right of detainees to communicate with the outside world and to receive visits is a key safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment and other human rights violations. It enables persons concerned about the wellbeing of detainees to see where they are held and their condition so as to be able to intervene on their behalf if there is reason for concern. It is also a key safeguard against enforced disappearances.

    We continue to receive reports of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees during interrogation at the CID and National Security Agency buildings. In view of this and the circumstances of his detention described in this letter, we are seriously concerned about Sayed Alawi’s current treatment and safety and believe he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. We also believe that the ongoing denial of information to his family as to his whereabouts amounts to enforced disappearance. We are also concerned that he may be brought before a military court and requests assurances that no civilian, including Sayed Alawi, will be tried before a military court, in line with international standards.

    We would therefore like to seek urgent clarification regarding the location of Sayed Alawi and the legal basis for his detention as well as what charges, if any, have been brought against him. We urge you to provide Sayed Alawi with prompt and regular access to his lawyer, family and any medical attention he may require. We also urge you to release him unless he is to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence.

    We look forward to receiving your response on this urgent matter as we intend to make public our concerns in the near future.

    Sincerely,

    Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

    Amnesty International

    Bahrain Center for Human Rights

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy

    CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation

    European Center for Democracy and Human Rights

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    “Bahraini women’s rights defenders are at heightened risk of harassments, attacks  and intimidations, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) said today, “The Government must repeal all repressive measures against human rights defenders, including travel bans and counter-terrorism legislations that criminalizes legitimate activities”

    The recent summon and investigation of Zainab Al-Khamees from the Bahrain Human Rights Society, which follows the arrest and torture of Ebtisam Al-Saegh, and the travel ban imposed on  activist Fatima Al-Halwachi, show a pattern of abuses against Bahraini female activists aiming to silence and intimidate them. 

    Activist Rihanna Al-Mosawi who took part to protests at the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix, has been summoned as well today for illegal gathering.

    Zainab Al-Khamees is a member of the Bahrain Human Rights Society, an organization aimed at promoting human rights in Bahrain. Zainab was actively involved in campaigning for the release of her colleague Ebtisam Al-Saegh. She has been summoned on Tuesday to the Criminal investigation Directorate (CID).

    Ebtisam Al-Saegh is a Bahraini human rights defender who works for the organization Salam for human rights and democracy. She is charged and currently detained under anti-terrorism law. She was previously tortured, including by being raped and sexually harassed by members of the National Security Agency.  

    Fatima Al-Halwachi is the Deputy-Head of the European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR). She has been banned on Tuesday 5th of September from traveling to Geneva and participating in the 37nd session of the Human Rights Council.

    BCHR believe that the government’s actions are preventing women human rights defenders from conducting their legitimate activities and from advocating for their own rights to be protected. 

     

     

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    September 11, 2017: “The Bahraini authorities must end their persecution of prominent activist Nabeel Rajab and immediately and unconditionally release him, said BCHR today. “Our president is merely being punished for refusing to stop his legitimate campaigns for justice in Bahrain and for criticizing the Saudi Arabia-led military operations in Yemen.”

    Nabeel Rajab has been convicted in July 2017 for two years after an unfair trial which was deeply flawed and was widely criticized by various human rights bodies and international human rights organisations. This second case brought againt him is related to Twitter comments published on his twitter acount between March 10, 2015, and his arrest on April 2, including nine Anti-War tweets about the military operations in Yemen.

    The today hearing was again adjourned until  September 27, despite the prosecution failed to bring any evidence to court since 2015.

    Rajab’s Twitter comments led to his arrest on April 2, 2015.  Authorities released him on July 13, 2015, but prosecutors did not close the cases and ordered his re-arrest on June 13, 2016.

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    Report about the The 27th UPR Session in Geneva on Bahrain’s Human Rights Record.

    In this report, we shed light on and evaluate the recent UPR of Bahrain that took place in May 2017, in Geneva, when 178 recommendations were released to the government of Bahrain. This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the significance of this event and its impact on the situation of Human rights in Bahrain.


    The purpose of this report is to give a vivid demonstration of the effectiveness of the UPR mechanism and the assessment of the level of cooperation showed by the government to urge the international community including the most influential countries, human rights organizations, civil society organizations and human rights activists to exert effective pressure to implement the given recommendations.

    Read full report here.

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    “Bahrain should immediately release and drop all charges against Nabeel Rajab and four of his  Bahrain Center for Human Rights colleagues”, said BCHR today. The Bahraini Government should not use its overbroad terrorism law to punish peaceful activists. 

    Yesterday, Bahrain brought new charges against Nabeel Rajab, BCHR President and prominent activist. Rajab who has been in jail since June 2016 is being charged for tweets and instagram posts published at the beginning of this year when he was already in prison. 

    Four Human Rights Activists working for BCHR have been also summoned by the  Anti-terrorism prosecution this September for interrogation. Ahmed al Saffar and Husain Radhi were subpoenaed to appear on 14 September, Enas Oun on the 17th and Nedal Al Salman today, Tuesday 19 September. All four members are being charged by the public prosecution for illegal gatherings under the new anti-terrorism law, and all have been placed on a travel ban. This shows a new pattern of abuses towards BCHR staff and fits in a wider pattern of systematic censorship and repression against journalists, media activists and HRDs.  BCHR believe that the new Anto-terrorism law has been designed specifically to target human rights activists for their legitimate work. 

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    UPR Bahrain

    FIDH-BCHR

    Mr. President,

    Today’s final outcome report for the UPR of Bahrain raises serious concerns about Bahrain’s commitment to human rights protection. The UPR review was marked by the Kingdom’s denials of all serious violations, as reports emerged of systematic travel bans, judicial harassments and even torture being used to exclude prominent human rights defenders from the UPR process.

    During the UPR review, several recommendations were made to the government of Bahrain concerning the treatment of their detainees, torture allegations and the protection of human rights defenders who wish to cooperate with the UN in its review. But since the the UPR, the Kingdom has perpetrated more human rights violations : On May 26, a few weeks after the UPR review, WHRD Ebtisam Al-Saegh was summoned by the National Security Agency, tortured and raped by her interrogators. Ebtisam previously engaged into UPR-related advocacy activities.

    In the last weeks, according to BCHRs reports, the Bahraini government issued over 20 summons calling activists, opposition members, journalists and human rights defenders to interrogation by the terrorist prosecution. Amongst them, there were also human rights lawyers and 4 BCHR members, all charged under the new anti.terrorism law. FIDH and BCHR regret that Bahrain refused to commit to repeal its anti-terrorism law, while the Bahraini authorities are using this law provisions to persecute HRDs and to enforce censorship on social media.

    In July of 2017, President of BCHR and deputy secretary General of FIDH, Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to two years of imprisonment after an unfair trial. The process of Rajab's trial has come under massive criticism from the international community as the trial has been subject to a series of delays, a lack of legal evidence for the charges and ill-treatment during detention.

    Finally, Bahrain pledged to cooperate with the HRC and its mechanisms but failed to invite key Special Rapporteurs any time soon. We urge the Governement to respond to many credible allegations of serious human rights violations by inviting an OHCHR team to visit the country.

    Thank you Mr. President,

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    The undersigned human rights organizations call upon the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to urgently visit Bahraini prisons to stand upon their situation and invite UN Special Rapporteurs and relevant UN working groups to submit new applications to visit Bahrain.

    The organizations are calling on Member States of the Human Rights Council to exert serious pressure to be allowed to have unconditional access to all places of detention and meet any prisoners to know the reality of the situation in all prisons as well as activating the mechanisms of international control.
    In the same time, the signatories call on the government of Bahrain to respect international covenants, notably the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. They urge to respect the rights of prisoners determined by the Reform and Rehabilitation Law in the prison administration and its executive regulations that goes in parallel with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and modify the texts that do not conform with the later rules.

    The Human rights organizations urgently appeal to the international community and international human rights organizations to pressure the authorities in Bahrain to stop their grave violations against detainees and prisoners and to work on immediately release prisoners of conscience.

    According to documented statistics, the number of detainees and prisoners in Bahraini prisons has reached 4,000 prisoners, including 12 women. Since 2011, the total number of arbitrary arrests has reached more than 12,000 including 330 women, 968 cases of children including 3 female children, where more than 4000 citizens were subject to torture or abuse and ill-treatment.

    In addition, the information reaching out to us confirms the overcrowding of prison cells by more than 50% of their capacity, with the continuation of humiliating inspections, the confiscation of personal belongings, and the practice of a number of abuses against prisoners, which deprive them of basic rights.

    In September of this year, prisoners of conscience organized a hunger strike to demand improvement to their detention conditions: stopping torture and ill-treatment, providing medical care, opening the praying area for prayer and religious services, providing a waiting room for visiting families, removing the plastic barrier inside the visits rooms, improving the quality of meals and other demands. Previous reports from inside Bahraini prisons said prisoners have been exposed to food poisoning due to poor food quality, contrary to Rule 20 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

    In March 2015, the security authorities punished prisoners in Jau central prison in a collective manner after disturbances in the prison. The security authorities resorted to excessive use of force to quell the prison protests, and forced detainees to sleep outside their cells and subjected them to various forms of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment in clear and explicit violation of rules 10-14 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Article 10, paragraph 1, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that guarantees respect for the inherent dignity of all persons deprived of their liberty.

    Ill detainees and prisoners, particularly those suffering from chronic diseases, suffer from inadequate medical care and treatment to prevent any health deterioration, when the UN recommendation clearly calls for adoption of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

    Signatories:
    • Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)
    • Bahrain Forum for Human Rights
    • Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR)
    • SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
    • The European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR).

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    23 October, 2017: Bahrain freed two female activists, Ms. Ebtisam Al Saegh and Ms. Rawan Sangoor, as well as activists Mr Radhi al-Qatari and Mohamed al Shakoori, all jailed under the new anti-terrorism law and victims of torture and ill-treatment during their detention.

    Ebtisam Al Saegh, who works for Salam for Democracy and Human Rights has been detained since July 4, 2017. She was brought to Isa Town women’s prison where she was interrogated for long hours, tortured and sexually abused by two officers of the National Security Agency. On July 18, UN experts urged Bahrain to investigate reports of torture and ill-treatment of Ms. Al Saegh and to release her. Ms. Al Saegh described as well daily harassment and humiliation by prison officials at Isa Town’s prison since the beginning of her detention, a move that can be seen as a form of reprisal against Ms. Al Saegh for being outspoken about her abuse. Blogger Rawan Sangoori was arrested on the 23th of September and moved to Isa Town’s prison for cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross in order to secure a more humane treatment for her tortured brother Ali Sangoor who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

    “The release of Ms. Al Saegh and others after months of abuses is a positive news, but the authorities should seriously investigate the reports of torture and drop all the charges against them” said BCHR today. “The continued persecution of human rights activists inside the country and their detention on terorism charges pose a serious threat to all human rights monitoring and reporting in Bahrain at a time when abuses are growing in the country” BCHR added. 

    The authorities should ensure that the prison and security officials who violated Ms. Al Saegh’s rights are held accountable and should also immediately and unconditionally release all other peaceful activists, including Nabeel Rajab, BCHR President, whose trial has been marred by serious due process violations.

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    “The Bahraini authorities must protect Nabeel Rajab from harassment and degrading  treatment,” BCHR said today, after its president has reportedly been subjected to degrading treatment in Jaw Prison yesterday.
     
    Nabeel Rajab who is now held in Jaw prison since his transfer yesterday from the Interior Ministry’s hospital, where he was being treated since July, was subjected to humiliating and degrading body searches by guards from the the Jaw prison who subsequently confiscated some of his personal belongings, including his books and clothes. Prison officials reportedly forcibly shaved his head and used this opportunity to humiliate him.
     
    BCHR is concerned that some of these actions may have been retaliations for the comments he posted on Twitter related to the allegations of torture in Jaw prison in 2015. Allegations that have been found credible by many international NGO’s and the Committee against torture in his consideration of Bahrain six months ago.
     
    “The Bahraini authorities must investigate the allegations that Nabeel Rajab was subjected to degrading treatment. He should not be in prison and must be released immediately” said BCHR.
     
    The Jaw prison is known to suffer from poor hygiene, inadequate medical facilities, violence and beatings targeting political prisoners and activists, and chronic abuse of prisoners. Bahraini authorities have closed the Jaw prison to independant and international investigators, no UN Rapporteur has never been granted access to this prison. The Bahraini authorities must protect all detainees and prisoners from harassment and degrading treatment, and hold anyone found responsible to account.
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    New information
    BHR 006 / 0812 / OBS 048.31
    Arbitrary detention /
    Judicial harassment /
    Ill-treatment
    Bahrain
    October 27, 2017

    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

    New information:

    The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued judicial harassment, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, co-founder and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), founding Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), FIDH Deputy Secretary General and a member of the Middle East advisory committee at Human Rights Watch. Mr. Nabeel Rajab has been one of the country’s most vocal human rights defenders, denouncing human rights violations within the country’s Jaw prison, and denouncing Bahrain’s participation in bombings of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

    According to the information received, on October 26, 2017, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was transferred from the Ministry of Interior’s “Qaala” police clinic to Jaw Prison. It has been reported that Mr. Nabeel Rajab is being held in solitary confinement and was subjected by prison guards to degrading treatment, including humiliating and degrading body searches, forcibly shaving his hair, arbitrarily raiding his cell at night and confiscating his personal items.

    Since the begging of his detention on June 13, 2016, Mr. Nabeel Rajab has been held under particularly harsh detention condition, including solitary confinement, and is regularly prevented from accessing his lawyers.

    Mr. Nabeel Rajab is being harassed by Bahraini authorities in two different court cases.

    On October 26, 2017, an appeal hearing in the “Television interviews case” was postponed to November 7, 2017. On July 10, 2017, the Manama’s Lower Criminal Court handed down a two years’ prison sentence against Mr. Nabeel Rajab under charges of “deliberately spreading false information and malicious rumours with the aim of discrediting the State” in relation to television interviews he participated to. Mr. Nabeel Rajab faces additional charges in at least two other cases related to articles published in foreign newspapers about Bahrain’s human rights record (see background information).

    In the so-called “Twitter case”, Mr. Nabeel Rajab is being accused of “insulting a statutory body” (Article 216 of the Penal Code), “disseminating false rumours in time of war” (Article 133) and “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]” (Article 215), which carries up to 15 years in prison. Those charges are related to tweets he posted denouncing the torture of detainees in the Kingdom’s Jaw Prison, where he is now being detained, and the human rights violations perpetrated by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen. The case which suffers endless postponements since July 2016 will next be heard on November 19, 2017.

    The Observatory expresses its outmost concerns over reports of ill-treatment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, whose health has severely degraded since the beginning of his detention. The Observatory thus urges the Bahraini authorities to guarantee Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s physical and psychological integrity.

    In its concluding observations on Bahrain published on May 12, 2017, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UN CAT) drew attention to the fact that “excessive use of solitary confinement constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or, depending on the circumstances, even torture (...)” [1]. The UN CAT added that it was “deeply concerned” by the arbitrary imprisonment, torture and ill-treatment of detained human rights defenders, including Mr. Nabeel Rajab [2].

    The Observatory denounces the continued arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, which seems to be yet another evidence of a long-standing pattern of harassment against him to sanction his legitimate human rights activity.

    The Observatory calls upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Nabeel Rajab, to put an end to any act of harassment against him and, in the meantime, to ensure that all judicial proceedings against him are carried out in full compliance with the right to due process, the right to a fair trial and the right to be presumed innocent, as protected under international law.

    Background information:

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    New information
    BHR 006 / 0812 / OBS 048.31
    Arbitrary detention /
    Judicial harassment /
    Ill-treatment
    Bahrain
    October 27, 2017

    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

    New information:

    The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued judicial harassment, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, co-founder and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), founding Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), FIDH Deputy Secretary General and a member of the Middle East advisory committee at Human Rights Watch. Mr. Nabeel Rajab has been one of the country’s most vocal human rights defenders, denouncing human rights violations within the country’s Jaw prison, and denouncing Bahrain’s participation in bombings of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

    According to the information received, on October 26, 2017, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was transferred from the Ministry of Interior’s “Qaala” police clinic to Jaw Prison. It has been reported that Mr. Nabeel Rajab is being held in solitary confinement and was subjected by prison guards to degrading treatment, including humiliating and degrading body searches, forcibly shaving his hair, arbitrarily raiding his cell at night and confiscating his personal items.

    Since the begging of his detention on June 13, 2016, Mr. Nabeel Rajab has been held under particularly harsh detention condition, including solitary confinement, and is regularly prevented from accessing his lawyers.

    Mr. Nabeel Rajab is being harassed by Bahraini authorities in two different court cases.

    On October 26, 2017, an appeal hearing in the “Television interviews case” was postponed to November 7, 2017. On July 10, 2017, the Manama’s Lower Criminal Court handed down a two years’ prison sentence against Mr. Nabeel Rajab under charges of “deliberately spreading false information and malicious rumours with the aim of discrediting the State” in relation to television interviews he participated to. Mr. Nabeel Rajab faces additional charges in at least two other cases related to articles published in foreign newspapers about Bahrain’s human rights record (see background information).

    In the so-called “Twitter case”, Mr. Nabeel Rajab is being accused of “insulting a statutory body” (Article 216 of the Penal Code), “disseminating false rumours in time of war” (Article 133) and “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]” (Article 215), which carries up to 15 years in prison. Those charges are related to tweets he posted denouncing the torture of detainees in the Kingdom’s Jaw Prison, where he is now being detained, and the human rights violations perpetrated by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen. The case which suffers endless postponements since July 2016 will next be heard on November 19, 2017.

    The Observatory expresses its outmost concerns over reports of ill-treatment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, whose health has severely degraded since the beginning of his detention. The Observatory thus urges the Bahraini authorities to guarantee Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s physical and psychological integrity.

    In its concluding observations on Bahrain published on May 12, 2017, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UN CAT) drew attention to the fact that “excessive use of solitary confinement constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or, depending on the circumstances, even torture (...)” [1]. The UN CAT added that it was “deeply concerned” by the arbitrary imprisonment, torture and ill-treatment of detained human rights defenders, including Mr. Nabeel Rajab [2].

    The Observatory denounces the continued arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, which seems to be yet another evidence of a long-standing pattern of harassment against him to sanction his legitimate human rights activity.

    The Observatory calls upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Nabeel Rajab, to put an end to any act of harassment against him and, in the meantime, to ensure that all judicial proceedings against him are carried out in full compliance with the right to due process, the right to a fair trial and the right to be presumed innocent, as protected under international law.

    Background information:

    On July 9, 2012, Mr. Rajab was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for several tweets posted on his twitter account. On August 23, 2012, he was acquitted by the Higher Appeal Court.

    On August 16, 2012, the Lower Criminal Court sentenced Mr. Rajab to three years of imprisonment for his participation in peaceful gatherings. In December 2012, the Appeals Court reduced the sentence to two years. He was released in May 2014 after serving his term.

    On October 1, 2014, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was arrested by the General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for “insulting a public institution” via Tweeter (Article 216). The case related to a tweet he published in September 2014, in which he criticised the military institutions for generating extremist ideologies (the “terrorism tweet” case). On November 2, 2014, the Third Lower Criminal Court ordered his release but barred him from leaving the country.

    On January 20, 2015, the Third Lower Criminal Court sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment for “insulting public institutions and the army” (Article 216).

    In 2015, two other criminal charges were brought against Mr. Rajab. On February 26, 2015, he was summoned for investigations for charges of “inciting hatred towards the regime” in relation to a speech he made in February 2011 during a funeral (the “funeral speech case”). To date, the police investigation is ongoing.

    In addition, on April 2, 2015, Mr. Rajab was arrested, sent to the General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security, and placed in detention in solitary confinement in Isa Town Police Station. On April 3, 2015, he was interrogated by the CID regarding two new charges brought against him under criminal case No. 2015/38288. The first charge was “insulting a statutory body”, referring to the Ministry of Interior in relation to tweets he posted denouncing the torture of detainees at Jaw Prison (the “Jaw torture tweets” case). The second charge was “disseminating false rumours in time of war”, in relation to tweets he published about the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen (the “Yemen tweets” case).

    On May 14, 2015, the Bahrain Criminal Court of Appeal upheld the six-month prison sentence (the “terrorism tweet” case).

    On July 13, 2015, the King of Bahrain Hamad Ben Issa Al-Khalifa ordered through Royal Pardon the release of Mr. Nabeel Rajab for health reasons. Mr. Rajab had already served three of the six months’ jail sentence. Moreover, on the same date, the Public Prosecution imposed a travel ban against Mr. Rajab in relation to the Jaw torture and Yemen tweets cases.

    In the morning of June 13, 2016, police forces reportedly led by the Cybercrime Unit arrested Mr. Nabeel Rajab, after raiding his house and seizing a number of electronic devices. In the afternoon, he was able to contact his wife by phone, and reported being detained at East Riffa police station.

    On June 14, Public Prosecution remanded him in custody on accusations of “publishing and broadcasting false news that undermine the prestige of the State” (Article 134 [3]).

    On June 28, 2016, he was transferred from police custody to the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital due to unprecedented heart problems. On the same day, he was examined by a doctor, and was transferred back to West Riffa police station.

    On July 12, during the hearing, the judge dismissed the request for release filed by Mr. Rajab’s lawyers and the hearing was postponed to August 2.

    On August 2, 2016, the High Criminal Court decided to postpone the trial to September 5 without justification.

    On September 4, Mr. Rajab was summoned and questioned by CID officials. He was denied access to a lawyer on this occasion.

    On September 5, 2016, the Public Prosecution announced that additional charges had been brought against Mr. Nabeel Rajab, for deliberately disseminating “false news and information and tendentious rumours that undermine the kingdom’s prestige and stature”, in relation to a letter published in the New York Times on September 4, 2016, [4] describing his judicial harassment and arbitrary detention. If convicted, this could add one year to his final sentence. In total, he now faces up to 16 years in prison.

    On October 3, 2016, Mr. Nabeel Rajab underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder as a consequence of his poor detention conditions.

    On October 6, 2016, the High Criminal Court decided after a five-minute hearing to postpone the trial to October 31, without providing any justification. Before the hearing, Mr. Rajab’s lawyers asked the Court a copy of his medical reports after the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecution failed to provide them, in clear violation of Mr. Rajab’s right to be informed of his own health condition.

    Once more on October 31, 2016, the Fourth High Criminal Court postponed the trial until December 15 in order to obtain a technical expert from the Cyber-Crime Unit to determine who runs Rajab’s twitter account. Rajab arrived at the court right before the hearing, and was taken out immediately after the Judge made his pronouncements, while Rajab’s lawyers were still making applications.

    On December 15, 2016, after a fifteen-minute hearing during which Mr. Nabeel Rajab was not allowed to speak, the Fourth High Criminal Court postponed the verdict until December 28, 2016 and refused to release him.

    On December 21, 2016, the Cybercrime Unit of the Ministry of Interior took Mr. Nabeel Rajab out of custody for interrogation following the publication of a letter quoting him in French newspaper Le Monde [5] on December 19, 2016. The Cybercrime Unit accused Mr. Rajab of using the article to “spread false information and tendentious rumours insulting Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States and harming their relations”. Investigations on those publications were still underway.

    On December 28, 2016, Manama’s Fifth High Criminal Court acceded to an application for Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s temporary release following a failure to give any basis or any sufficient evidence of a link between him and the Twitter account with respect to the Yemeni and Jaw prison tweets.

    Then Mr. Rajab was taken to the CID for temporary release. However, he was re-arrested later on the same day and referred to the Public Prosecution in relation to an investigation into televised interviews dating from 2014, which commenced in mid-June 2016.

    On December 28, 2016, the Public Prosecution ordered the pre-trial detention for seven days of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, pending investigation into televised interviews dating back to 2014. These interviews with television networks Lua Lua Channel, Al Etijah TV and Al-Alam News Network were related to the human rights situation in Bahrain. In this case, Mr. Nabeel Rajab is being prosecuted on charge of “deliberately spreading false information and malicious rumours with the aim of discrediting the State” (Article 134 of the Penal Code) [6], which carries up to three years in prison.

    On January 5, 2017, the Public Prosecution renewed Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s pre-trial detention for a further 15 days, pending investigation.

    On April 5, 2017, Mr. Nabeel Rajab underwent surgery for bleeding ulcers at Manama’s military hospital. His family was denied the right to visit him while in hospital. Only two days after the surgery, Mr. Rajab was sent back to West Riffa police station where he has remained in solitary confinement most of the time.

    On April 8, 2017, Mr. Rajab was rushed to the police hospital in an ambulance because of an infected wound that followed the operation. Since that date, Mr. Nabeel Rajab is recovering from his medical condition and remains in Qaala clinic, which is a division of the Ministry of Interior [7].

    On July 10, 2017, the Manama’s Lower Criminal Court handed down a two years’ prison sentence against Mr. Nabeel Rajab under charges of “deliberately spreading false information and malicious rumours with the aim of discrediting the State” (Article 134 of the Penal Code) in the so called “Television interviews case”, in relation to television interviews in which Mr. Nabeel Rajab was talking about Bahrain’s human rights record.

    On August 8, 2017, a Bahraini Court held its 15th hearing in the so-called “Twitter case” against Mr. Nabeel Rajab and decided again to postpone the hearing until September 11, 2017, despite a request by Mr. Rajab’s lawyers to hold the next hearing sooner. Furthermore, the court stated that by then, new judges will be seating in the court.

    Actions requested:

    Please write to the authorities of Bahrain urging them to:

    The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:

    i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Nabeel Rajab and that of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

    ii. Release Mr. Nabeel Rajab immediately and unconditionally, as his detention is arbitrary and its conditions amount to ill-treatment and are endangering his life;

    iii. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Nabeel Rajab and against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

    iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1, Article 6 (c), 9, 11 and 12.2;

    v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.

    Document Type: 
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    Bahraini human rights organizations have said that the Bahraini authorities have strengthened the closure of the democratic space through the decision of the second Supreme Court of Appeal to uphold the verdict of dissolving the National Democratic Action Association (Waad) during the session held on Thursday, 26 October 2017. When other decisions against a number of other political or civil associations are an additional step in undermining the freedom of political and civil action in Bahrain.

    The organizations pointed out that the charges on which the lawsuit against Waad was based were vague, weak and clearly malicious, explaining that this retaliation was due only to Waad's exercise of their legitimate rights under international law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to freedom of political action and association.

    The organizations also mentioned that the Ministry of Justice based its action on the arbitrary restrictions imposed by the Law on Political Associations, which allows the Ministry to intervene unjustifiably in the work of political societies. The number of lawsuits and procedures the Authority has resorted to are 9 procedures since 2011, divided between: Lawsuits and Suspension Procedures. Waad is now the third political society to be dissolved after the Islamic National Reconciliation Society (Al Wefaq) and the Islamic Action Society (Amal), beside the prosecutions and crackdowns on a number of Waad leaders.

    The dissolution of Waad reveals yet again the lack of judicial independency and confirms that Bahrain's political space is bleaker than before.

     

    Signatories:

    · Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

    · Bahrain Forum for Human Rights

    · Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR)

    · SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights

    · The European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR)

    Document Type: 
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  • 11/03/17--07:24: Violations of Ashura 2017
  •  
    On the occasion of the visit of Mr. Dwight Bashir, Director of Research and Policy for the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) urge the US authorities to emphasise in their dialogue with the Bahraini authorities, the need for concrete changes in upholding Bahrain’s obligations to guarantee the freedom of religion and belief. BCHR also calls on the Bahraini authorities to extend an invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief to conduct a mission to Bahrain to assess the situation of religious freedom and formulate recommandations for combating religious discrimination, sectarianism and intolerance. 
     
    A report issued by the American Committee on Religious Freedom shows the deterioration of religious freedom in Bahrain, especially the increase of investigations and convictions of a number of clerics, in addition to preventing some clerics from entering specific mosques for prayers in Duraz Area. 
     
    BCHR documented that Bahraini authorities have severely curtailed freedom of religion and belief of its Shia population, imposing tight restrictions to hold mourning ceremonies marking Ashura in October 2017. 
     
    BCHR monitored a number of violations, which ranged from removing Shiite banners, flags and figures, from summons of around 67 citizens including number of clerics, like Sheikh Hassan al-'Ali, Sheikh Hassan al-Banna Ali Hammad.  AbdulAmir AlBiladi was suspended for two days only because he called for the release of his colleague.
     
    Nuwaidrat, Maameer and Malikya villages were attacked with tear gas and shot pellets for resisting the security forces who were removing all the Ashura banners.  Many families and children were targeted by tear gas. 
     
    In Duraz, security froces used excessive force, teargas and rubber bullets against citizens who were peacefully marching next to the house of the most prominent cleric in Bahrain shaikh Isa Ahmed Qasim. 
     
    These systematic violations by the authorities in Bahrain are contradictory to the provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain in article 22, which guarantees "freedom to perform religious rituals, processions and religious meetings in accordance with the customs of the country, and to international human rights standards.
     
    Many organizations beside the US government called the Bahraini government to fully implement the recommendations of the Bahraini Commission of Inquiry, including those relating to freedom of religion and belief, sectarian incitement and respect for beliefs.
     
     
    Document Type: 
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    New information
    BHR 001 / 0417 / OBS 047.1
    Restrictions to freedom of movement /
    Harassment
    Bahrain
    November 29, 2017
     
    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.
     
    New information:
     
    The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about ongoing obstacles to freedom of movement faced by Ms. Nedal Al Salman, Acting President and Head of Women and Children Rights at the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).
     
    According to the information received, on November 26, 2017 at 2 pm, Ms. Al Salman intended to board a flight to Toronto via Dubai at Manama International Airport. After she was successfully checked-in, she was stopped at the emigration desk, her passport was seized by a policeman, and she was told to wait.
     
    After one hour, the policeman came back to Ms. Al Salman to inform her that she “[could] not travel as [she was] under travel ban”. When asking the reasons for such a ban, the policeman answered that he had no idea, and that she “should check with the Public Prosecution Office”.
     
    This travel ban will prevent Ms. Nedal Al Salman from attending the European Union (EU)-NGO Forum on Human Rights on December 5 and 6, 2017 in Brussels, where she had been invited by the EU.
     
    Ms. Nedal Al Salman has already been banned from travelling several times since August 29, 2016, and most recently in April and June 2017, ahead of sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) in Geneva (see background information).
     
    On September 19, 2017, she was summoned and charged by the Public Prosecution for “illegal gatherings” under trumped-up charges stemming from the new Anti-Terrorism Law, and placed under a formal travel ban.
     
    The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing travel restrictions imposed on Ms. Al Salman, which is further evidence of constant reprisals conducted by the authorities against human rights defenders in Bahrain.
     
    The Observatory recalls that more than 20 human rights defenders have been prevented to leave the country earlier this year, as a clear attempt to sanction their human rights activities (see background information).
     
    The Observatory urges the authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban against Ms. Al Salman and other human rights defenders in Bahrain, and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against them.
     
    Background information:
     
    In April 2017, a new wave of summons and travel bans targeted at least 18 human rights defenders, including members of the BCHR, the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO), the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS), the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR) and Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (Salam), as well as four political activists.
     
    Between April 20, 2017 and April 26, 2017, 22 human rights activists, including four BCHR members, Mr. Enas Oun, Mr. Ahmed Al Saffar, Mr. Hussain Radhi and Ms. Nedal Al Salman, as well as BHRO member Ms. Jalila Al Salman, along with BHRS member Ms.Zainab Al Khamees, EBOHR member Ms.Fatima Al Halwachi,Salam member Ms. Ebtisam Al Sayegh, human rights lawyer Mr. Mohamed Al Tajer, journalists Ms.Faisal Hayat and Mr. Ahmed Radhi, Ms. Zainad Mohamed, Ms. Riyhanna Mosawi, Mr. Talal Salawi, Mr. Monther Al Khoor, Mr. Sayed Hadi Al Moosawi, doctors Mr.Taha Al Derazi and Ms. Rulla Al Saffar[1] and four members of the political society Waad were all summoned to appear before the Public Prosecutor for interrogation.
     
    The 22 individuals were all accused of supposedly participating in “illegal gatherings” in the city of Deraz on January 6 and 14, 2017. Yet, none of the 22 participated in such alleged gatherings. Travel bans have been issued against the 22 individuals. The Observatory fears that the travel bans were preventively issued against the 22 individuals to prevent them from attending Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review to be held in Geneva from May 1 to May 5, 2017 before the UN HRC.
     
    Actions requested:
     
    Please write to the authorities in Bahrain, urging them to:
     
    i. Guarantee in all circumstances the freedom of movement of Ms. Nedal Al Salman and all human rights defenders in Bahrain, by immediately and unconditionally lifting the travel bans against them, as they only aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
     
    ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment against Ms. Nedal Al Salman and all human rights defenders in Bahrain, so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;
     
    iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;
     
    iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.

    Addresses:
     
    • Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
    • Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax : 00973 17 21 05 75; ofd@mofa.gov.bh
    • Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Fax: +973 175 31 284
    • Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Email: info@interior.gov.bh
    • H.E. Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch
    • H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Belgium, Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail: Brussels.mission@mofa.gov.bh
    • H.E. Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Paris, France. Email: ambassade@ambahrein-france.com
     
    Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Bahrain in your respective country.
     
    ***
     
    Paris-Geneva, November 29, 2017
     
    Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
     
    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
     
    To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
    ·         E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
    ·         Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
    ·         Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
     
    [1]               Ms. Rulla Al Saffar is the former President of the Bahrain Nurses Society.
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

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    New information
    BHR 001 / 0417 / OBS 047.1
    Restrictions to freedom of movement /
    Harassment
    Bahrain
    November 29, 2017
     
    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.
     
    New information:
     
    The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about ongoing obstacles to freedom of movement faced by Ms. Nedal Al Salman, Acting President and Head of Women and Children Rights at the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).
     
    According to the information received, on November 26, 2017 at 2 pm, Ms. Al Salman intended to board a flight to Toronto via Dubai at Manama International Airport. After she was successfully checked-in, she was stopped at the emigration desk, her passport was seized by a policeman, and she was told to wait.
     
    After one hour, the policeman came back to Ms. Al Salman to inform her that she “[could] not travel as [she was] under travel ban”. When asking the reasons for such a ban, the policeman answered that he had no idea, and that she “should check with the Public Prosecution Office”.
     
    This travel ban will prevent Ms. Nedal Al Salman from attending the European Union (EU)-NGO Forum on Human Rights on December 5 and 6, 2017 in Brussels, where she had been invited by the EU.
     
    Ms. Nedal Al Salman has already been banned from travelling several times since August 29, 2016, and most recently in April and June 2017, ahead of sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) in Geneva (see background information).
     
    On September 19, 2017, she was summoned and charged by the Public Prosecution for “illegal gatherings” under trumped-up charges stemming from the new Anti-Terrorism Law, and placed under a formal travel ban.
     
    The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing travel restrictions imposed on Ms. Al Salman, which is further evidence of constant reprisals conducted by the authorities against human rights defenders in Bahrain.
     
    The Observatory recalls that more than 20 human rights defenders have been prevented to leave the country earlier this year, as a clear attempt to sanction their human rights activities (see background information).
     
    The Observatory urges the authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban against Ms. Al Salman and other human rights defenders in Bahrain, and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against them.
     
    Background information:
     
    In April 2017, a new wave of summons and travel bans targeted at least 18 human rights defenders, including members of the BCHR, the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO), the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS), the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR) and Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (Salam), as well as four political activists.
     
    Between April 20, 2017 and April 26, 2017, 22 human rights activists, including four BCHR members, Mr. Enas Oun, Mr. Ahmed Al Saffar, Mr. Hussain Radhi and Ms. Nedal Al Salman, as well as BHRO member Ms. Jalila Al Salman, along with BHRS member Ms.Zainab Al Khamees, EBOHR member Ms.Fatima Al Halwachi,Salam member Ms. Ebtisam Al Sayegh, human rights lawyer Mr. Mohamed Al Tajer, journalists Ms.Faisal Hayat and Mr. Ahmed Radhi, Ms. Zainad Mohamed, Ms. Riyhanna Mosawi, Mr. Talal Salawi, Mr. Monther Al Khoor, Mr. Sayed Hadi Al Moosawi, doctors Mr.Taha Al Derazi and Ms. Rulla Al Saffar[1] and four members of the political society Waad were all summoned to appear before the Public Prosecutor for interrogation.
     
    The 22 individuals were all accused of supposedly participating in “illegal gatherings” in the city of Deraz on January 6 and 14, 2017. Yet, none of the 22 participated in such alleged gatherings. Travel bans have been issued against the 22 individuals. The Observatory fears that the travel bans were preventively issued against the 22 individuals to prevent them from attending Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review to be held in Geneva from May 1 to May 5, 2017 before the UN HRC.
     
    Actions requested:
     
    Please write to the authorities in Bahrain, urging them to:
     
    i. Guarantee in all circumstances the freedom of movement of Ms. Nedal Al Salman and all human rights defenders in Bahrain, by immediately and unconditionally lifting the travel bans against them, as they only aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
     
    ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment against Ms. Nedal Al Salman and all human rights defenders in Bahrain, so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;
     
    iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;
     
    iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.

    Addresses:
     
    • Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
    • Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax : 00973 17 21 05 75; ofd@mofa.gov.bh
    • Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Fax: +973 175 31 284
    • Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Email: info@interior.gov.bh
    • H.E. Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch
    • H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Belgium, Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail: Brussels.mission@mofa.gov.bh
    • H.E. Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Paris, France. Email: ambassade@ambahrein-france.com
     
    Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Bahrain in your respective country.
     
    ***
     
    Paris-Geneva, November 29, 2017
     
    Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
     
    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
     
    To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
    ·         E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
    ·         Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
    ·         Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
     
    [1]               Ms. Rulla Al Saffar is the former President of the Bahrain Nurses Society.
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 

    0 0

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses grave concern of the health state of Ayatollah Isa Qasim, which has, recently, seriously deteriorated. He is still being held under house arrest despite his need of immediate medical attention. His family was kept waiting for over four hours at the police station before a doctor was allowed to access the Duraz area where he lives, an area that has been surrounded by police and under siege for over a year. This has further aggravated his health state.

    According to his family: Ayatollah Isa Qassim is suffering from an aggravated case of abdominal hernia which is causing him severe pain, esophagus bleeding for over two months which cause has not yet been diagnosed and extreme fatigue; his ability of movement has been highly reduced.

    Moreover, Ayatollah Isa Qasim already suffers from several chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. He has not been able to receive efficient medical care for almost a year and a half because he has been stripped of his nationality. Since 2011, non citizens in Bahrain or citizens with no ID card cannot seek medical care and will be reported to the Ministry of Interior (MOI).

    On Sunday 26th of November, a doctor visited him and confirmed that he has to undergo an urgent procedure for his hernia, which, at his age, is highly risky.

    After the authorities stripped him of his citizenship in June over allegations of extremism and money laundering, he could be deported at any time. Due to the way the Bahraini government has dealt with the false accusations, Sheikh Isa Qasim has been insisting that he only receives medical treatment from a surgeon and medical group he trusts.

    Furthermore, there is no longer a valid reason for the ongoing house arrest as the peaceful assembly outside his house has ceased.

    Due to Ayatollah Isa Qasim’s critical condition, BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain:

    • to allow Sheikh Isa Qasim to seek medical care without any restriction or intervention;
    • cease the house arrest he is under and,
    • drop all allegations against him. 
    Document Type: 
    Feature: 
    Issue: 

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses grave concern of the health state of Ayatollah Isa Qasim, which has, recently, seriously deteriorated. He is still being held under house arrest despite his need of immediate medical attention. His family was kept waiting for over four hours at the police station before a doctor was allowed to access the Duraz area where he lives, an area that has been surrounded by police and under siege for over a year. This has further aggravated his health state.

    According to his family: Ayatollah Isa Qassim is suffering from an aggravated case of abdominal hernia which is causing him severe pain, esophagus bleeding for over two months which cause has not yet been diagnosed and extreme fatigue; his ability of movement has been highly reduced.

    Moreover, Ayatollah Isa Qasim already suffers from several chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. He has not been able to receive efficient medical care for almost a year and a half because he has been stripped of his nationality. Since 2011, non citizens in Bahrain or citizens with no ID card cannot seek medical care and will be reported to the Ministry of Interior (MOI).

    On Sunday 26th of November, a doctor visited him and confirmed that he has to undergo an urgent procedure for his hernia, which, at his age, is highly risky.

    After the authorities stripped him of his citizenship in June over allegations of extremism and money laundering, he could be deported at any time. Due to the way the Bahraini government has dealt with the false accusations, Sheikh Isa Qasim has been insisting that he only receives medical treatment from a surgeon and medical group he trusts.

    Furthermore, there is no longer a valid reason for the ongoing house arrest as the peaceful assembly outside his house has ceased.

    Due to Ayatollah Isa Qasim’s critical condition, BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain:

    • to allow Sheikh Isa Qasim to seek medical care without any restriction or intervention;
    • cease the house arrest he is under and,
    • drop all allegations against him. 
    Document Type: 
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    Issue: 

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    BCHR: Ayatollah Qasim returns to house arrest after surgery. Further operations to follow
     
    Bahrain Center for Human rights said in a statement that Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim has been placed again under house arrest, after the end of an urgent surgery this week. Further surgical operations are expected to follow and medical care should be guaranteed for the Ayatollah.
    Sheikh Qassim has been under house arrest and a security siege has been placed around his house for more than 6 months . His health has deteriorated a few days ago and he was transferred to the hospital for treatment after international pressure was placed on the government of Bahrain to allow him to receive medical care. Sheikh Isa Qassim’s nationality was revoked In June 2016, the Minister of Interior rendered him stateless. The cleric is one of over 480 people stripped of Bahraini citizenship since 2012. His village, Duraz, has been under a continuous police blockade since June 2016.
     
    Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the government of Bahrain to immediately lift the security siege on his residence and enable him to continue his medical treatment which may require him to have further surgical operations. BCHR also calls for lifting the police blockade imposed upon Duraz
     
     Sheikh Maytham Al Salman(Senior advisor at BCHR) re-emphasized on the calls made by 4 UN experts to lift the house arrest imposed upon the Sh. Isa Qasim and not interfere with his medical treatment. 4 UN experts said in a public statement on the 7th of December, 2017 : As Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim recovers, he should be free to move around without restrictions and not be subject to de facto house arrest.
     
    Al Salman said  “For over a year, the Bahraini government has intensified the reprisals against the country’s most senior religious leader Sheikh Isa Qassim in its attempt to silence all voices calling for democracy, social justice and respect of universal human rights. He was subjected to a series of violations, including the arbitrary revocation of his citizenship, his conviction on absurd politically motivated charges, and the murdering of peaceful protesters near his door steps and placing him under house arrest. Most recently, he was deprived of adequate medical care. Bahrain’s stability can only be achieved by ensuring the human rights of all are fully respected, and by promoting an all inclusive dialogue process that leads to sustainable stabilty.
     
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    Today, on Human Rights Day, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights would like to remind of many activists behind bars for breaking the silence of oppression. We think of all those people who risk their lives for standing up against fascism, sectarianism and racism. From Palestine to Bahrain.  
     
    Our President, Nabeel Rajab, is one of them, he is serving a two years sentence in the Jau prison in Bahrain for his human rights work. He is facing another trial in January and risks a further 15 years in prison for tweeting against the War in Yemen.
     
    He founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and devoted his life to what he believed were basic freedoms long overdue to the Bahraini people. He travelled to the UN and many countries giving speeches to share the struggle of the Bahraini people for democracy and human rights with the outside world.  Nabeel Rajab dedicated his life to human rights values and the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.
     
    For many of us around the world, the Human Rights Day is not a day of celebration but a day of anger and rage. For many of us it is yet another day, we’ll be living under colonial oppression, apartheid or dictatorship.

    Today we must together remind our leaders that stable partners are governments that create a safe environment for free speech and peaceful expression. 

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    The four Bahraini human rights organisations, Salam Organization for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM), Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) and Gulf In itute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), call for an urgent inve igation on the recent raid on the peaceful sit-in in Duraz village, we of Manama the capital city, in solidarity with Sheikh Isa Qassim, whose nationality has been arbitrary revoked in June 2016. 

    Read full report here: /sites/default/files/A%20Crime%20Outside%20Coverage.pdf

     

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