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Bahrain

    June 24, 2019

    The Bahraini authorities must immediately end ongoing harassment, intimidation and attacks against former member of parliament Osama Muhana al-Tamimi, who is known for his criticism of the government, Amnesty International said today.

    Over the course of the past two months, government agencies have repeatedly arbitrarily summoned al-Tamimi for questioning. Since 2012, the authorities have subjected al-Tamimi to a smear campaign by way of government-linked press publishing fabricated accusations against him. During this period, the authorities have refused to investigate a number of serious incidents targeting al-Tamimi’s businesses and personal safety.

    “Osama Muhana al-Tamimi is one of the few openly critical Sunni voices in Bahrain. His harassment comes as no surprise, and serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing, multi-faceted means the authorities have been resorting to, to silence any independent thinking in the Kingdom,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research.

    March 27, 2019

    Ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix this weekend (Friday 29 to Sunday 31 March), Amnesty International has highlighted the grim human rights record of the country.

    Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said:

    “Beneath the glamour of the F1, there is a far more sinister side to Bahrain, revealing the country as a deeply repressive state where anyone critical of the government can be jailed merely for posting a tweet.

    “Prominent human rights defenders are under relentless attack in the country. Nabeel Rajab was shamefully convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for tweeting about the conflict in Yemen and torture allegations in Jaw Prison.

    “Instead of just “sportwashing” its image and glossing over its dismal human rights record through high speed sport, the Bahraini government should immediately repeal laws that criminalize freedom of expression and fast track the release of all prisoners of conscience.”

    Background

    January 28, 2019

    Responding to the news that Bahrain’s Court of Cassation has upheld the conviction of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director, Samah Hadid said:

    “Today’s verdict is yet another nail in the coffin for the right to freedom of expression in Bahrain and exposes the country’s justice system as a complete farce. The decision to uphold Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and life prison sentence following an unfair trial highlights the authorities’ determination to silence critical voices.

    “The Bahraini authorities must quash Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally. They should also rescind the decision to dissolve the two opposition political groups, al-Wefaq and Wa’ad, and guarantee the right of everyone to freedom of association.”

    Background:

    January 22, 2019

    Responding to the Bahraini Court of Cassation’s decision to uphold a ruling to dissolve the opposition group National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) and confiscate its assets, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf said:

    “The court’s decision to dissolve the opposition political group Wa’ad, a group committed to non-violence, is just the latest manifestation of how the authorities have been resorting to all means, including the judiciary, to crush any form of dissent in their country.

    “Amnesty International calls on the Bahraini authorities to ensure that Wa’ad is allowed to reopen and resume its activities without delay and uphold the rights to freedom of association and expression. The international community must also use its leverage with the Bahraini authorities to push them to put an end to their systematic crackdown on opposition, which has been going on for far too long, unchecked.”

    Background

    December 31, 2018

    Responding to the news that Bahrain’s Court of Cassation has upheld the conviction of Nabeel Rajab, one of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defenders, based on views he expressed on Twitter, Lynn Maalouf Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “Today’s shameful verdict is a travesty of justice. The decision to uphold Nabeel Rajab’s conviction and five-year sentence simply for posting tweets expressing his opinions, exposes Bahrain’s justice system as a complete farce. His treatment by the Bahraini authorities is completely unacceptable. 

    “Nabeel Rajab is a prisoner of conscience. It is utterly outrageous that he has already spent two years behind bars – including nine agonizing months in solitary confinement, amounting to torture. Instead of prolonging his suffering and condemning him to several more years in prison the Bahraini authorities should quash his conviction and sentence and release him immediately and unconditionally.”

    Background:

    November 23, 2018

    Ahead of the Bahraini parliamentary election on 24 November, Amnesty International is gravely concerned over the widespread suppression of the political opposition, activists, and civic leaders. Shi’a public figures have been disproportionately targeted in the pre-election clampdown.

    “Over the past two years, the crackdown in Bahrain has seen the political opposition detained, intimidated and silenced. We call on the authorities to stop this ongoing and escalating repression and to allow free expression of dissenting voices, including those who oppose the monarchy,” said Devin Kenney, Amnesty International’s Bahrain researcher.

    “Bahrain’s international partners and allies cannot remain silent, and must use their influence to pressure the Bahraini authorities to adhere to the international standards they have committed to.”

    November 05, 2018

    Responding to the Bahraini Appeal Court verdict, overturning the acquittal of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and sentencing him instead to life in prison, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said:

    “This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent. Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

    “The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Ali Salman and quash his politically motivated conviction and sentence”. 

    “The international community’s silence on the continued crackdown on dissent must also come to an end. Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain’s human rights record, the country’s political allies must use their influence to push for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain”.

    Background

    September 28, 2018

    A new investigation by Amnesty International has revealed a shocking pattern of medical negligence in Bahrain’s prison system, where individuals with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis and sickle-cell anaemia are being denied specialist care and pain medication.

    The organization spoke to family members of 11 prisoners, held in various detention facilities around the country, and received credible reports of a health care system marred by negligence, delays and arbitrary exercise of authority.

    “The reports we heard from prisoners’ relatives paint a stark picture of medical negligence and intentional ill-treatment in Bahrain’s prisons. Although medical treatment is provided, it is far from adequate, and prisoners are frequently subjected to disruptions, delays and needless, petty cruelty,” said Devin Kenney, Amnesty International’s GCC researcher.

    June 05, 2018

    Responding to the news that Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights activist in Bahrain, has had his appeal against his conviction for peacefully expressing his opinions online upheld, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “The Bahraini Court of Appeal has missed a vital opportunity to do the right thing and set Nabeel Rajab free.

    “His ongoing detention is further proof of the Bahraini authorities’ relentless determination to squash the right to freedom of expression and silence any peaceful criticism.

    “It is absolutely outrageous that he has to spend another single day behind bars solely for expressing his opinion online.

    “The authorities must immediately release Nabeel Rajab and drop all charges against him.”

    May 16, 2018

    Responding to the news that a court in Bahrain yesterday revoked the citizenship of 115 people and handed 53 of them life sentences on terrorism-related charges, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The sheer scale of this mass trial is ludicrous; it is hard to believe that justice can have been delivered through a fair trial process when this number of people are simultaneously sentenced.

    “This is one of the most severe rulings yet, and is further proof that the Bahrain authorities have no regard whatsoever for international fair trial standards.

    “The Bahraini government is using revocation of nationality – rendering many of its citizens stateless in the process – and expulsion, as tools to crush all forms of opposition, dissent and activism.

    “Arbitrarily depriving citizens of their nationality, turning them into stateless people and banishing them by forcing them to leave the country is a violation of international law.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 21, 2018

    The sentencing of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to five years in prison today for peacefully expressing his opinions online illustrates the Bahraini authorities’ utter contempt for freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.

    The sentence relates to posts on his Twitter account in 2015 as well as retweets about alleged torture in Bahrain’s Jaw prison, and the killing of civilians in the Yemen conflict by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

    “The conviction of Nabeel Rajab today is a slap in the face to justice. This sentence demonstrates the authorities’ ruthless determination to crush all forms of dissent and leaves no room for doubt about the extreme lengths to which they are willing to go to in order to silence peaceful critics,” said Heba Morayef, MENA Regional Director at Amnesty International.

    “This shameful verdict must be quashed and the authorities must drop all pending charges and immediately release Nabeel Rajab. It is absolutely outrageous that he be forced to spend a further five years in jail simply for daring to voice his opinions online.”

    January 31, 2018

    The Bahraini government expelled four of its citizens whose nationality was revoked in 2012, in yet another display of the kingdom’s steady and sustained disregard of its own citizens and for human rights and international law more broadly, said Amnesty International.

    Brothers Ismail and Ibrahim Darwish were expelled to Iraq at 09:00am on 28 January 2018, followed by Adnan Kamal and Habib Darwish on 29 January 2018. Four other people, Mohammed Ali, Abdul Amir, Abdulnabi Almosawi and his wife Maryam Redha, who also had their nationality revoked that same year, were told they would be forcibly deported to Iraq on 1 February 2018.

    “The Bahraini government is using revocation of nationality – rendering many of its citizens stateless in the process - and expulsion, as tools to crush all forms of opposition, dissent and activism.” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director

    “It is doing so with little to no pushback from the international community, including key allies such as the United Kingdom that could use their leverage to publicly condemn these actions,”

    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 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.  

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