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    <p>Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) condemns the arbitrary detention of children Hussein Radhi Abdullah and Ali Hussein AbdulWahab. They were detained for five days after being charged with illegal gathering. These children were among the 10 cases of detention of children under the age of 18, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) monitoring from 11 to 17 February 2019.</p>

    <p>Arbitrary arrests were carried out during the same period. Some children were arrested by raiding their houses at early morning without a legal warrant. Others, including Hussein and Ali, were arrested from the street without knowing the reason for the arrest or even presenting the warrant. They are often investigated without a legal representative and are not allowed to communicate with the outside world. They are often subjected to psychological torture to force them to confess to the charges against them, thus arrest and imprison them, depriving them of their freedom and education.</p>

    <p>The centre asserts that the international law obligates the authorities of any State to respect and treat the child as a minor while Bahraini authorities classify those children as &ldquo;terrorists&rdquo; in an attempt to justify their detention. The government of Bahrain has signed to the convention &nbsp;on the Rights of Child that guarantees the safety of children which states in its 37th article that no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.</p>

    <p>Based on the above, Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the authorities in Bahrain to:</p>

    <p>&nbsp;-Immediate and unconditional release of detained children<br />
    - Commit to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the application of its provisions<br />
    - Stop targeting children and allow them to complete their education and exercise their rights guaranteed by international covenants and conventions<br />
    -Ensure fair trial for children who are found to be involved in cases in front of specialized courts and guarantee all their rights</p>

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    We, the undersigned organisations, call on the authorities in Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release Hajer Mansoor Hasan, Sayed Nazar Alwadaei and Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor, to ensure their convictions and sentences are quashed, and to drop all additional fabricated charges Mr Nazar Alwadaei is facing. On 25 February 2019, the Court of Cassation in Bahrain will issue its verdict in the appeal against the three-year prison sentence handed to all three individuals. If the sentence is upheld, they will have exhausted all legal remedies available to them.

    Ms Mansoor, Mr Nazar Alwadaei and Mr Mansoor are family members of Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who has been tortured, judicially harassed, stripped of his citizenship and threatened by the Bahraini authorities due to his human rights work in the United Kingdom. The prosecution of his relatives is the latest attempt to intimidate him and silence his advocacy efforts. Last month, the UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention described the imprisonment of Ms Mansoor, Mr Nazar Alwadaei and Mr Mansoor as “arbitrary” and in reprisal to Mr Alwadaei’s activities, and called for their immediate release. 

    Mr Alwadaei’s family members were arrested in March 2017, while he was attending the 34th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. They were subjected to physical and psychological abuse and prosecuted on dubious charges of planting fake explosive devices to create terror among the population. The prosecution failed to present any physical evidence linking the three to the alleged crime, relying instead on “confidential sources” and confessions which the defendants claim were extracted under duress.

    On 31 October 2017, Ms Mansoor, Mr Nazar Alwadaei and Mr Mansoor were convicted by a Bahraini court following a long trial marred by due process violations, including allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, coerced confessions and denial of legal representation. On 20 December 2017, an appeals court upheld the sentence. Mr Nazar Alwadaei was issued an additional seven years’ imprisonment in two separate cases on 29 November 2017 and 26 March 2018 based on similar charges. He is now serving 11 years in total.

    Furthermore, we are concerned that the prison conditions in Isa Town Prison, where Ms Mansoor is held, are not in line with international standards. We are aware that she is not receiving adequate medical attention for a lump in her breast, which may be cancerous. We also understand that she has not been allowed to see her family since September 2018, due to the imposition of a physical barrier in the visitation room.

    We urge the Bahraini authorities to release Ms Mansoor, Mr Nazar Alwadaei and Mr Mansoor immediately and unconditionally, to ensure their convictions and sentences are quashed and to drop all additional fabricated charges against Mr Nazar Alwadaei . An impartial, effective and independent investigation into their credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment must be conducted and the results made public to ensure that all those involved can be held accountable following fair judicial proceedings.

    The treatment of Sayed Alwadaei’s family is indicative of Bahrain’s pattern of abuse, harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders, as highlighted by the UN Secretary-General in September 2018. We call on the authorities in Bahrain to end such actions and ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and that the right to freedom of expression is fully respected.

    Signed,

    Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

    Amnesty International

    Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)

    English PEN

    European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)

    Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)

    Human Rights First (HRF)

    Human Rights Watch (HRW)

    PEN International

    Women’s March Global

     

     

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    <p>Bahrain Center for Human Rights issued a new report entitled &ldquo;Women and Children under Repression&rdquo;, on the occasion of International Woman Day, in both, English and Arabic languages. The report is published to highlight the status of Bahraini woman under the Bahraini laws and decrees violating women&#39;s rights.</p>

    <p>In the report, the Center examines Bahrain&#39;s laws and legislations restricting the freedom of women and children and shows the extent of its non-conformity with the international treaties, covenants and agreements especially the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The report also documented abuses against women since the popular protests beginning in 2011.</p>

    <p>The report concluded with recommendations to the Government of Bahrain urging them to release all detained women. The report has also recommended enacting the Bahraini Nationality Act (2014), that guarantees the right of the individual in all matters relating to nationalities; Granting citizenship to every Bahraini child who has been stripped of his nationality and compensated for every right he was deprived of when he was stateless and; Amend the law to allow the Bahraini mother to transfer her nationality to her child.</p>

    <p>To read the full report click <a href="/sites/default/files/women.pdf">here</a></p>

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    <p><strong>The detention of Ali Marhoun and Mohammed Khalil reveals the continued targeting of athletes by the authorities</strong></p>

    <p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its deep concern over the continued targeting of athletes by the Bahraini authorities, and their ill-treatment. The security services recently arrested Mohammed Khalil, a player in Bahrain Bowling Team, and the player of the Al- Ma&#39;ameer Volleyball Club Ali Marhoun and his brother, the sports photographer Hassan Marhoun. They were arrested on the background of charges related to the political and legal situation in the country.</p>

    <p>On Tuesday, 29 January 2019, the police forces arbitrarily arrested the player in Al- Ma&#39;ameer Volleyball Club, Ali Jafar Marhoun (22 years old) and his three brothers, Mohammed, Houssein and Hassan (a sports photographer). They broke into their house in Al-Ma&#39;ameer by climbing the wall, and arrested them without presenting an arrest warrant or legal authorization for inspection.</p>

    <p>Public prosecution accused Ali of participating in placing a fake bomb on the highway. The three brothers were accused of the same charge before they were released on 19 February 2019. Ali remained in prison until the date of issuing this statement. Ali&#39;s family reported to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights that the police officers responsible for the arrest of Ali had beaten him during the house raid. Ali told his family that he was beaten during the interrogation for the purpose of enforced confession. He was subsequently detained for 30 days on pending investigation.</p>

    <p>On Friday, 08 March 2019, the police forces arrested the player in Bahrain Bowling Team, Mohammed Khalil Ebrahim. He was leaving Bahrain International Airport for official participation in an international championship in the UAE. Mohammed is facing a previous sentence of one-year imprisonment for gathering with others after his arrest in 2015. His family reported the invalidity of judgment against Mohammed, being that he was on duty at the time of the alleged gathering.</p>

    <p>Since the beginning of 2019, authorities have arrested four athletes, including Jawad Al-Khabbaz, a football coach and a former press photographer. He was fired from his job in Al-Watan after the peaceful protests in Bahrain in 2011, before his release after 20 days of detention.</p>

    <p>Bahrain has been under intense international criticism for its targeting of athletes and journalists, the most recent of which was the case of Bahraini player Hakeem Al-Araibi. Hakeem is a refugee in Australia who was arrested in Thailand on the orders of the Bahraini government before being released following an international campaign to support his cause.</p>

    <p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) strongly condemns the Bahraini government&#39;s continued targeting of activists, journalists and athletes as well as the various human rights abuses ongoing in the country. The Bahraini government usually accuses activists of cases where confessions are extracted under degrading treatment during interrogation.</p>

    <p>&nbsp;</p>

    <p><strong>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the international community to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to: </strong></p>

    <p>&bull; Immediately release all detained athletes and journalists in Bahrain</p>

    <p>&bull; Stop targeting activists, athletes and journalists</p>

    <p>&bull; Commit to international conventions and covenants ratified by Bahrain</p>

    <p>&bull; Investigate allegations of torture and hold the responsible accountable &nbsp;</p>

    <p>&nbsp;</p>

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    <p>Jean Todt,</p>

    <p>President Federation Internationale de l&rsquo;Automobile (FIA)</p>

    <p>8, Place de la Concorde</p>

    <p>75008 Paris, France</p>

    <p>Dear Jean Todt,</p>

    <p>We, the undersigned organisations, write to draw your attention to the human rights and press freedom violations committed by the Bahraini authorities, including against people protesting the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p>

    <p>The Bahraini Government attaches great importance to the Bahrain Grand Prix as a glamor status symbol of progress and international prestige. For this reason, the race has become a focal point for protests calling for political reform as well as a pretext for the authorities to further crack down on free speech and assembly.</p>

    <p>Leading human rights organisations have documented the spike in human rights abuses that occur each year around the time of the race. The Bahraini government uses such events, and the lack of global concern about such abuses, to sanitise&mdash;or &ldquo;sports-wash&rdquo;&mdash;its image abroad while continuing to abuse its citizens domestically.</p>

    <p>Since 2015, Formula One has had a human rights statement, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/201... it adopted after a mediation process</a> when Americans for Democracy &amp; Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) filed a <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-29762156">complaint</a>in the United Kingdom, where the main Formula One companies are based, under the <a href="http://www.oecd.org/corporate/mne/48004323.pdf">OECD</a>Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The guidelines<a href="https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/formula-one-commits-to-human-rig... emphasise the corporate responsibility</a> to carry out human rights due diligence and cooperate with legitimate processes in remediating impacts they have caused or contributed to. Its &ldquo;S<a href="https://www.formula1.com/en/toolbar/statement-of-commitment-to-respect-f... of Commitment to Respect for Human Rights&rdquo;</a> pledges: &ldquo;The Formula 1 companies are committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights in its operations globally.&rdquo;</p>

    <p>One case of Bahraini abuse is the imprisoned mother of four and Bahraini activist, Najah Yusuf, who was arbitrarily arrested and said she was tortured and sexually assaulted a week after Facebook posts criticising the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix were published on an account she comanaged.</p>

    <p>The posts in question called for &ldquo;No to Formula races on occupied Bahraini land,&rdquo; and criticised the Bahrain Grand Prix for being&ldquo;nothing more than a way for the al-Khalifa family to whitewash their criminal record and gross human rights violations&rdquo;. They also called for a &ldquo;Freedom for the Formula 1 Detainees&rdquo; march to put the spotlight on protestors jailed for criticising the Bahrain Grand Prix. These posts were all included in the evidence submitted by the Public Prosecution against her, and her social media activity opposing the Grand Prix was referenced in her court judgement.</p>

    <p>Formula One publicly <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/nov/14/f1-woman-jailed-bahrain-gr... concern</a> in November 2018 about Ms. Yusuf&rsquo;s case. The Bahraini Government continues to claim that her arrest and conviction &ldquo;has nothing to do&rdquo; with her protest of the Grand Prix. The Bahraini Government made similar claims in relation to other high-profile political prisoners, including Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and the family members of Bahraini pro-democracy activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei. Both Rajab and Alwadaei were present during the OECD mediation process that led to Formula One adopting its human rights policy in 2015.</p>

    <p>Moreover, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, there are several reporters serving prison sentences who were arrested for activities and coverage related to the event. Ahmed <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/nov/14/f1-woman-jailed-bahrain-gr... is a priority</a> case due to his deteriorating health and because the timing of his prison sentence appeared to be related to the run-up to the race in 2014. The<a href="https://cpj.org/blog/2014/03/bahrain-racing-in-circles.php"> arrest of Sayed </a><a href="https://cpj.org/2014/03/freelance-bahraini-photographer-given-10-year-pr...</a><a href="https://cpj.org/blog/2014/03/bahrain-racing-in-circles.php">al-Mosawi</a>also appears to be linked to an effort to restrict protests and journalism in the lead up to the race in 2014. It is noteworthy that award-winning photographer <a href="https://cpj.org/2017/03/former-afp-photographer-arrested-in-bahrain-airp... al-Sheikh </a>was also detained shortly before the race in 2017. Together there is a <a href="https://cpj.org/2017/03/for">clear pattern of repression and detention of journalists</a> and restriction of press freedom by the Bahraini authorities around the races.</p>

    <p>With the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix fast approaching, we suggest Formula One take immediate action on these cases by:</p>

    <p>a. Publicly calling for Ms. Yusuf and Mr. Humaidan&rsquo;s immediate and unconditional release; and</p>

    <p>b. Sending a high-level delegation from Formula One and F&eacute;d&eacute;ration Internationale de l&#39;Automobile (FIA) leaders to visit Ms. Yusuf and Ahmed Humaidan in Isa Town Prison and Jau Prison, which are only 20 km and 24 km away from Bahrain&rsquo;s International Circuit, respectively. This is consistent with the actions of other sports federations, for example, FIFA&rsquo;s sending senior staff to monitor the hearing in Thailand of Bahraini refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi.</p>

    <p>Sincerely,</p>

    <p>1.Americans for Democracy &amp; Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)</p>

    <p>2.Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)</p>

    <p>3.Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)</p>

    <p>4.Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)</p>

    <p>5.European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)</p>

    <p>6.Football Supporters Europe</p>

    <p>7.Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)</p>

    <p>8.Human Rights Watch (HRW)</p>

    <p>9.International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)</p>

    <p>10.International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)</p>

    <p>11.PEN International</p>

    <p>12.Reporters Without Borders (RSF)</p>

    <p>13.Transparency International Germany</p>

    <p>14.Women&#39;s March Global</p>

    <p>15.World Players Association, UNI Global Union</p>

    <p>&nbsp;</p>

    <p><strong>Copy to Ms. Sacha Woodward-Hill, General Counsel to F1</strong></p>

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    We, the undersigned human rights organizations, write to you in advance of the upcoming Formula One Grand Prix race in Bahrain, scheduled for 29-31 March, to raise concerns regarding the worsening human rights situation in the country and the specific human rights risks associated with the event. 

    We call on the Formula One Group to take concrete measures to safeguard human rights in Bahrain during the race, in accordance with its own “Statement of Commitment to Respect for Human Rights,” including instating a freedom complaints mechanism. 

    Bahrain's human rights situation has continued to deteriorate over the years, and we have seen a trend of increased repression by the authorities in the lead up to, and during, Bahrain's Grand Prix – notably the targeting and suppression of free expression in the context of the race. We are deeply concerned that the Bahrain Grand Prix has continued to take place in an environment of oppression, human rights violations, and constricted freedom of expression. 

    Targeting journalists for their coverage of protests surrounding the race has become commonplace. In 2012, 22-year-old videographer and journalist Ahmed Ismail Hassan was fatally shot by Bahraini security forces while covering protests around the Grand Prix. Witnesses stated that he was targeted because authorities saw his video equipment. In the seven years since, no one has been held accountable for his death. 

    In March 2016, Bahraini authorities refused to renew journalist Nazeeha Saeed's press credentials with foreign media outlets, seemingly as retribution for her previous coverage of police brutality during protests. She was then taken to court and fined for “working without a license.” 

    Additionally, journalists traveling to Bahrain for the 2017 Grand Prix were required to sign a form that stated they would only cover the Grand Prix or risk losing their visa – a strategy that has effectively muted coverage of protests and freedom of the press, while simultaneously bolstering Bahrain's reputation, thereby providing cover for abuses to continue unabated. 

    Other instances of human rights abuses occurred during the Grand Prix in April 2017, including the use of tear gas against protesters. Bahraini activist, Najah Yusuf, was arrested following her online criticism of Bahrain's Grand Prix, and has been subjected to arbitrary detention and torture. She was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in June 2018. 

    In 2012, 36-year-old father of five, Salah Abbas, was shot dead by Bahraini authorities after taking part in a peaceful demonstration on the eve of the Grand Prix. Protesters were concerned with the Bahraini government's use of the race to deflect attention from broader issues in the country, especially following the violent government crackdown on Bahrain's 2011 popular pro-democracy movement. 

    The 2016 Grand Prix was marked by the death of 17-year-old Ali Abdulghani, critically injured during his arrest in Shahrakan village, located within three miles of the Bahrain International Circuit. He was arrested in relation to his involvement in protests, and died on 4 April 2016, a day after the Grand Prix concluded. Witnesses state he was hit by a police vehicle and no credible investigation was ever carried out. 

    Authoritarian states use sports to raise their profile. Sporting bodies, including The Formula One Group, have a responsibility to protect and uphold human rights, including the right to free expression. The potential impact of interventions was recently demonstrated when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) successfully called for the release of imprisoned footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, who had been held in a Bangkok prison awaiting extradition to Bahrain and risk of torture and death. 

    In addition, major sporting organizations, including the IOC and FIFA, have instated freedom complaints mechanisms which enable individuals, particularly journalists and human rights defenders, to report human rights and press freedom violations. 

    We call on the Formula One Group to follow in the footsteps of the IOC and FIFA and implement a similar freedom complaints mechanism as a concrete demonstration of its own “Statement of Commitment to Respect for Human Rights,” in which it pledges to understand and monitor the potential human rights impacts of its activities, to identify and assess any actual or potential adverse human rights impacts, and to consider practical responses to any issues raised. 

    A freedom complaints mechanism through the Formula One Group would be a step in the right direction to address human rights abuses surrounding the Grand Prix in countries like Bahrain, and would help to protect the fundamental right to free expression. 

    Sincerely,

    Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
    Bahrain Center for Human Rights
    Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
    Adil Soz - International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech
    Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
    ARTICLE 19
    Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)
    Center for Media Studies & Peace Building (CEMESP)
    Freedom Forum
    Independent Journalism Center (IJC)
    Initiative for Freedom of Expression - Turkey
    Mediacentar Sarajevo 
    Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
    Media Watch
    Pakistan Press Foundation
    PEN America
    PEN Canada
    Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
    South East Europe Media Organisation 
    Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
    Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State
    World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)

    Bahrain Interfaith 
    Bahrain Press Association (BPA) 
    Salam for Democracy and Human Rights

     

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    Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Bahrain Interfaith (BI), in cooperation with Media Association for Peace (MAP), organized a conference entitled " Protection of Religious Freedoms: A Human Duty ". The conference was organized in light of the deterioration witnessed by Bahrain in religious freedoms, in conjunction with the National Day of Religious Freedom in Bahrain and the commemoration of the demolition of the mosque Mohammed al-Barbighi. Religious scholars from various communities and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Maharat Foundation, and a number of activists and researchers have participated. 

    The conference was held in Beirut, on the 17th of April 2019. It focused on religious pluralism, civil coexistence among the different, religious diversity in Bahrain and the persecution of Shiites, as well as an assessment of the conditions of religious freedom in Bahrain. The speakers were: Dr. Ghassan abu Deeb the member of Global Forum for Religions and Humanity (GFRH), Sheikh Souhaib Habli the member of Tajamoo of Muslim Scholars in Lebanon, Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman the President of Bahrain Interfaith, Vanessa Bassil the founder of Media Association for Peace,  Ghiwa Farroukh the researcher at Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and Hussein Al-Shareef member at Maharat Foundation, in addition to Amnesty International’s Gulf researcher Devin Kenny. 
    The Center called again at the conference to make the 17th of April a National Day for religious freedom in Bahrain. That helps to find a new reality based on respect and appreciation for the beliefs of citizens, and the creation of a legislation deterrent to infringement or tampering with those beliefs. 
    The most important statements in the conference were: 
    Abu Deeb stated that “If we want to extract from the holy gospel or the Qur’an the theology of war we can, and if we want to extract the theology of peace we can also”. Sheikh Habli commented that “if Bahrain permits Buddhists for example to practice their religious rituals while do not permit Shiites… the problem then is political and has nothing to do with the doctrines and their differences”.  Hussein Al-Shareef spoke of a report issued by Maharat Foundation in 2018 entitled “"Hate speech on social media”. The report concluded that there is no conflict between the sects. Rather, the difference is political and this is what the media contributes to.  About Shiites in Bahrain, Kenny said “it is an issue of demanding democracy, and the violation is a violation of the same religion. The authorities prohibit the practice of religion in prisons. We as an organization do not follow the religious discourse, but call for equality at all levels”. At the end, sheikh al-Salman commented that “making the 17th of April a National day for Religious Freedoms in Bahrainis a reaffirmation of the need of Bahrain to protect the religious freedoms of all components and communities and provide legislative and legal immunity to all places of worship”. 
    The conference issued recommendations after discussions:
    Allowing the visit of the Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom of the United Nations to Bahrain to examine the deterioration of the religious freedoms of citizens; The formation of an international team of United Nations experts and specialists in the crimes of demolition and erasure of cultural, heritage and religious landmarks to study the crime of the demolition of 38 mosques in Bahrain; To put pressure on the Bahraini government to enact laws protecting religious freedoms, as well as to address the effects of the political crisis in Bahrain and to open the doors of serious dialogue leading to comprehensive national reconciliation; In addition to many other recommendations that were signed by the attendees so to be presented to the United Nations later on. 
    The conference also included a musical part presented by Israa Quaeq and a painting by the artist Hassan Qambar.

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    Human Rights Watch demanded the French President Emmanuel Macron not to hold back in criticizing Bahrain’s dismal rights record during King Hamad al-Khalifa’s visit to Paris on April 30.

    The organization also reported that Bahrain is approaching a near total shutdown on free speech as authorities have effectively dissolved and outlawed every opposition party and shuttered independent media. Peaceful dissidents, including political opponents and human rights defenders, are being harassed, arrested, and prosecuted on abusive charges. Many of those detained have alleged severe ill-treatment and torture in detention.

    In a rare move that triggered a diplomatic crisis between France and Bahrain, the French ambassador to Manama, Cecile Longe, boldly called out Bahrain on its abuse in a tweet last June. She expressed concern about the “treatment of human rights defenders and political opponents in the country,” and specifically criticized the upholding of Nabeel Rajab’s five-year sentence by the Manama Appeals Court. The Court of Cassation – Bahrain’s court of last resort – upheld his conviction in December.

    Nabeel Rajab is one of dozens of human rights defenders unjustly imprisoned for refusing to stay silent on his government’s rights abuses. His five-year sentence arose from tweets alleging torture in a Bahrain prison – which Human Rights Watch has documented – and criticizing the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen in which Bahrain is a participating member. In recognition of Rajab’s courageous human rights activism, the City Council of Paris awarded him honorary citizenship during a ceremony last June.

    King Hamad al-Khalifa can, with the stroke of a pen, quash the charges against Rajab and other political prisoners and order their immediate release. Earlier this month, the king issued an order reinstating the citizenship of 551 individuals who had been unfairly stripped of their nationality through court orders.

    Macron should hold the line on Bahrain’s abuses and ask the king to once again use his powers to correct the injustice perpetrated by the judiciary and release Nabeel Rajab.

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    <p>THE U.S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (USCIRF) issued its annual report in April 2019. The report was published to monitor religious freedom abroad and makes policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress. The 2019 Annual Report documents religious freedom violations and progress during calendar year 2018 in 28 countries and makes independent recommendations for U.S. policy.</p>

    <p>The report is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on the U.S. government&rsquo;s implementation of IRFA and provides recommendations to bolster U.S. efforts to advance freedom of religion or belief abroad. The second section highlights 16 countries USCIRF concludes meet IRFA&rsquo;s standard for &ldquo;countries of particular concern,&rdquo; or CPCs, for the period covered by this report, which USCIRF refers to as Tier 1 countries. The third section of the Annual Report highlights 12 countries USCIRF categorizes as Tier 2, defined by the Commission as nations in which the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government during 2018 are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the &ldquo;systematic, ongoing, and egregious&rdquo; CPC standard.</p>

    <p>In 2019, USCIRF places Bahrain on its Tier 2 for engaging in or tolerating religious freedom violations that meet at least one of the elements of the &ldquo;systematic, ongoing, egregious&rdquo; standard for designation as a &ldquo;country of particular concern,&rdquo; or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).The part related to Bahrain concluded with recommendations to the US&nbsp; government. The most important of these recommendations was to urge the Bahraini government to clarify the terms and enforcement of the 2016 amendment to article 5 of the 2005 Political Society Law, which prohibits religious figures from &ldquo;inciting hatred,&rdquo; and repeal articles 309 and 310 of Bahrain&rsquo;s Penal Code that impose fines and jail time for blasphemy.</p>

    <p>Click <a href="https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2019USCIRFAnnualReport.pdf">here</a>to read the full report</p>

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    <p>Many cases reflect the increasingly restrictive and dangerous environment faced by human rights activists and those willing to express their opinions inside Bahrain.</p>

    <p>One of the most well-known cases is of prominent human rights defender <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/12/31/bahrain-rights-defenders-conviction-... Rajab</a>. Having served several prison sentences since 2011&rsquo;s pro-democracy uprising, he is no stranger to the fundamentally unjust Bahrain judicial system. Incarcerated for tweeting about the killing of civilians by the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition in Yemen, in addition to allegations of government-sanctioned torture in Bahrain&rsquo;s prisons, he faces a bleak and tough future ahead. &nbsp;Nabeel Rajab is one of dozens of human rights defenders unjustly imprisoned for refusing to stay silent on his government&rsquo;s rights abuses</p>

    <p>A similar desire by the government of Bahrain to quash political dissent also sits front and centre in the case of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/11/thailand-to-free-bahraini-... Al Araibi</a>. His outspoken remarks against Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain&rsquo;s royal family, is believed to have been the underlying reason for his detention in a Thai prison for nearly three months.</p>

    <p>Instead of embarking upon a path towards progressiveness, inclusivity and reform, Bahrain has made an active decision to entrench policies of hostility and repression. Unfortunately, these attitudes will only draw further criticism towards the oil-rich state, as activists and political opposition figures will continue to be forced to flee in search of safety and security.&nbsp;</p>

    <p>Click here for <a href="https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/bahrain-where-tweeting-can-land-you-in-...

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