The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) express their concern about the judicial harassment against the human rights defender Husain Radhi, a member of the BCHR’s documentation team. He is being tried for charges of “illegal assembly” in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, and expecting a verdict on Sunday, 1 February 2015. He was previously arrested in Manama on 25 January 2013 in the same case, and kept in detention for 17 days, even though he was only monitoring the protests and documenting human rights violations as part of his work with the Bahrain Human Rights Society.
Husain Radhi is only one of many human rights defenders who continuously face judicial harassment in Bahrain. This includes human rights defender Nader Abdulemam, who was recently released from four months in prison on charges related to a tweet. He is expecting a verdict in the same case as Hussain Radhi for “illegal assembly”. Earlier this month, leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, the President of the BCHR and founder of the GCHR, was sentenced to six months in prison for a tweet.
The BCHR and the GCHR have, for many years, expressed their grave concern about the Bahraini government’s laws that prohibit the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly. The two NGOs condemn the government’s consequent targeting and harassment of human rights defenders for their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities such as monitoring peaceful protests.
The BCHR and the GCHR call on the United Kingdom, the United States, members of the European Union, and other national and international bodies to:
- Publicly call on the government of Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Husain Radhi and other human rights defenders facing similar charges;
- Urge the Bahraini Government to repeal laws that infringe upon the internationally protected rights of freedom of expression and assembly.
- Apply pressure on the Government of Bahrain to halt any further judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Bahrain;
- Urge the Government of Bahrain to ensure that civil society organizations and human rights defenders in Bahrain may conduct their work without fear of retaliation or reprisal.