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Bahrain

    October 31, 2017

    Photo Credit: via Bahrain Center for Human Rights

    Download PDF of most recent update to UA 165/17 Bahrain

    September 07, 2017

    A new report published by Amnesty International today sheds light on the repressive tactics used by the Bahraini government over the past year to crush civil society and violently crack down on protests, leading to the deaths of six people, including one child.

    ‘No one can protect you’: Bahrain’s year of crushing dissent documents how, between June 2016 and June 2017, at least 169 government critics or their relatives were arrested, tortured, threatened or banned from travel by the authorities.

    “Using an array of tools of repression, including harassment, arbitrary detention and torture, the government of Bahrain has managed to crush a formerly thriving civil society and reduced it to a few lone voices who still dare to speak out,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The majority of peaceful critics, whether they are human rights defenders or political activists, now feel the risks of expressing their views have become too high in Bahrain.”

    July 31, 2017

    Photo Credit: via @Yaser_Mawali

    Download PDF of UA 185/17 Bahrain

    185 Bahrain.pdf 185 Bahrain.pdf

     

    July 19, 2017
      The Bahraini authorities’ decision to bring terrorism charges against Ebtissam al-Saegh, a human rights defender detained since 3 July 2017, is a chilling blow to human rights in the country, said Amnesty International.   Ebtisam al-Saegh was previously tortured, including by being sexually assaulted by members of the Bahrain National Security agency while she was held in custody last May.   “Ebtisam al-Saegh is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released. Her only ‘crime’, is her bravery in challenging the government’s appalling human rights record. By charging her with terrorism for her work on human rights, the Bahraini government is itself attempting to  intimidate and silence civil society in Bahrain,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle-East at Amnesty International.  
    July 14, 2017
      Amnesty International calls on the Bahraini authorities to rescind their arbitrary decision to close the only independent newspaper in the country, al-Wasat, and end its all-out campaign to crush freedom of press. This call comes over a month after the Ministry of Information indefinitely suspended the newspaper and as the authorities’ crackdown on all forms of peaceful criticism intensifies. The organization also calls on the authorities to reverse their arbitrary decision not to renew the accreditation of prominent journalist Nazeeha Saeed and other journalists and for Nazeeha Saeed’s conviction for working without a permit to be quashed.  
    July 10, 2017
      The sentencing of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, in his absence, to two years in prison for TV interviews is the latest shocking display of zero tolerance for freedom of expression by the Bahraini authorities, Amnesty International said today.   “Imprisoning Nabeel Rajab simply for sharing his opinion is a flagrant violation of human rights, and an alarming sign that the Bahraini authorities will go to any length to silence criticism,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.   “Nabeel Rajab should be commended for shedding light on allegations of serious human rights abuses; instead, Bahrain’s government and judiciary have once again tightened their chokehold on freedom of expression and branded him a criminal. No one should be jailed for speaking out about human rights.”   Nabeel Rajab was jailed in June 2016 over tweets he made that alleged torture in a Bahraini prison, and criticized the killing of civilians in the Yemen conflict by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.  
    May 31, 2017

    Bahrain’s dissolution of a major political opposition society is the latest troubling move in its blatant campaign to end all criticism of the government, Amnesty International said.

    The secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) was dissolved today after having issued a statement in February, saying that Bahrain was suffering from a “constitutional political crisis” amid continuous human rights violations. The group was subsequently charged with “advocating violence, supporting terrorism and incitement to encourage crimes and lawlessness”.

    “By banning major political opposition groups, Bahrain is now heading towards total suppression of human rights,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director of research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office.

    “The suspension of Wa’ad is a flagrant attack on freedom of expression and association, and further proof that the authorities have no intention of delivering on promises of human rights progress.”

    May 23, 2017

    The Bahraini security forces used excessive force against protesters in the village of Duraz, the majority of whom were peaceful, as part of an ongoing crack down on the village which has been under siege by the authorities for 11 months, according to evidence uncovered by Amnesty International.

    At least one person has been killed and hundreds injured as security forces fired birdshot from shotguns and teargas against protesters. According to Amnesty’s sources, during the violent clashes, the houses surrounding that of leading Shi’a spiritual leader Sheikh Issa Qassem were raided and people inside arrested.

    “Today’s disturbing developments again show the consequences of rampant impunity enjoyed by the security forces. There must be a prompt, independent investigation and those responsible for unlawful killing and other arbitrary or abusive force must be prosecuted. The authorities must rein in the security forces, order that they strictly comply with international standards on police use of force, and ensure the right to peaceful protest is protected,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns, Middle East at Amnesty International

    April 25, 2017

    Bahrain’s authorities have dramatically escalated their crackdown against perceived critics with 32 people summoned for questioning by the Public Prosecution within the past five days and charges brought against the majority of them, said Amnesty International, less than a week ahead of the country’s UN human rights review session in Geneva on 1 May.

    Those summoned include human rights defenders, political activists, lawyers, a journalist and relatives of victims of human rights violations, raising fears that they are being targeted as part of a deliberate attempt to stop them – and deter others - from criticizing Bahrain ahead of and during its upcoming review at the UN Human Rights Council.

    “The intensified crackdown against Bahraini dissidents in recent days is highly alarming and exposes the shocking extremes to which Bahrain’s authorities are prepared to go to silence criticism of their human rights record,” said Samah Hadid Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut Office

    April 03, 2017

    The King of Bahrain ratified a constitutional amendment today that paves the way for military trials of civilians, in yet another example of Bahrain’s efforts to dismantle access to justice and fair trial, said Amnesty International.

    “This constitutional amendment is a disaster for the future of fair trials and justice in Bahrain. It is part of a broader pattern where the government uses the courts to crackdown on all forms of opposition at the expense of human rights,” said Lynn Maalouf, head of research at Amnesty International’s regional office in Beirut.

    “Instead of moving to correct its shameful history of unfair trials and impunity for violations, authorities in Bahrain have decided to further undermine faith in the independence and fairness of the courts and of the justice system as a whole.”   

    Amnesty International is alarmed by the vaguely worded amendment which could be used to try, before a military court, any critic deemed to be a threat to Bahrain’s national security or its “independence, sovereignty or integrity”, including – as has been the case in the past – peaceful activists prosecuted on trumped-up charges.

    March 20, 2017

    The Bahraini authorities have once again displayed their ruthless determination to silence activists and crush all signs of dissent by charging prominent political figure Ebrahim Sharif with “inciting hatred against the regime” in a series of tweets, said Amnesty International.

    Ebrahim Sharif, former Secretary General of secular opposition party, the National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), was summoned for questioning this morning by the prosecution unit for terrorist crimes. He was released shortly afterwards but only after being informed that he was being charged with “incitement to hatred against the regime” over a series of tweets. One of the tweets included an Amnesty International social media graphic featuring 20 individuals who have been imprisoned in violation of their human rights since the 2011 uprising.

    “Once again Ebrahim Sharif is being unjustly punished simply for exercizing his right to freedom of expression. The charge against him is ludicrous and must be dropped immediately,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s office in Beirut.

    February 14, 2017

    Authorities in Bahrain must refrain from using excessive force against protesters, Amnesty International urged as mass protests are under way on 14 February, to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

    Bahrain is on the verge of a human rights crisis, as recent weeks have seen a pattern of increased repression, characterized by violence against protesters, executions, arbitrary detentions and a crackdown on freedom of expression.

    “Bahrain is at a tipping point. The first two months of 2017 alone saw an alarming upsurge in arbitrary and abusive force by security forces as well as the first executions since the uprising in 2011,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.

    “The authorities must rein in the security forces, respect the rights to peaceful assembly, association and expression, and stop executions, otherwise a full blown human rights crisis risks breaking out.”

    January 23, 2017

    In response to the news today that the Bahraini authorities have postponed the verdict in the case of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, Samah Hadid, Deputy Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Regional office in Beirut said:

    “The Bahraini authorities must stop playing games with Nabeel Rajab’s freedom. He has been arrested and released repeatedly over the past five years and has been banned from leaving the country. By postponing his trial for a sixth time today they are cruelly stringing him along as punishment for his peaceful activism. Their refusal to release him from custody in December despite a court order suggests this is part of a deliberate strategy to harass him.

    “Instead of flouting his rights to freedom of expression and depriving him of his liberty they should end this campaign of harassment, immediately and unconditionally release him and drop all the charges against him.”

    January 18, 2017

    Bahraini authorities must immediately commute the death sentences of two men at imminent risk of execution, Amnesty International said today, and warned that the harsh response to protests against three executions carried out by firing squad on 15 January risks plunging the country into a human rights crisis.

    November 21, 2016

    Five years after Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, which saw peaceful protesters beaten, shot, and killed in the streets, key reforms introduced to address human rights violations by the security forces have yet to deliver justice to the vast majority of victims and their families, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    The report, Window-dressing or pioneers of change? An assessment of Bahrain’s human rights oversight bodies, exposes serious shortcomings in two UK-supported institutions that have been repeatedly trumpeted by the Bahraini and British authorities as evidence of the country’s human rights progress. 

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