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Bahraini journalists - Jailed for 'dissent', 2011-2014

Bahraini journalists - Jailed for 'dissent', 2011-2014

Article ID:

17622

Day: 3
Country: Bahrain
Journalists: Ahmed Humaidan, Hussein Hubail, Abdul-Jalil al-Singace, and Sayed Ahmed Al-Mousawi
Media: photographer/photographer/blogger/photographer
Jailed since: December 29, 2012, July 13, 2013, June 22, 2011, and February 10, 2014

Suggested Tweet:

#FreethePress calls for the release of #Bahrain journalists tinyurl.com/ptt99nw and all pro-democracy protesters #F1


In the shadow of this year's Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain is a dark tale of government repression on any independent or dissident voice. On March 26, 2014 freelance photographer Ahmed Humaidan, who had already been in jail since December 2012, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The government has accused him of attacking a police station on the island of Sitra in 2012 with Molotov cocktails, however Humaidan was at the police station to document the attack as part of his ongoing coverage of anti-government protests that have swept the country since February 2011. His photographs were featured on several local opposition websites.

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Authorities have accused Hussein Hubail of being a “terrorist” and a “militant.” In reality, the 21-year-old Bahraini freelance photojournalist, who has published works for Agence France Presse, has been behind bars since July 31, 2013 for pushing coverage beyond the neutrality and calmness suggested by state propaganda. During the first three days of his incarceration, he was forbidden from sitting down and was reportedly punched and kicked during interrogations. Hubail has been accused of upsetting “public order and the community's security” and for allegedly “contributing to the Twitter account of the February 14 media network”. Hubail also suffers from a heart condition and has been transferred to hospital on many occasions. He is expecting his verdict on April 28, 2014, and could face up to fifteen years in prison, according to his lawyer who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Human rights activist and blogger Abdul-Jalil al-Singace was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2011 for "plotting to topple the monarchy." He was previously arrested on anti-state conspiracy charges in August 2010 but was released in February 2011 as the government tried to prevent the then budding protest movement from exploding. On his blog, Al-Faseela (Sapling), al-Singace covered human rights violations, sectarian discrimination and repression of Bahrain’s political opposition.

International award-winning photographer Sayed Ahmed Al-Mousawi was arrested on February 10, 2014 and is currently being held in Dry Dock prison. The charges against him are still unknown. Ahmed said that he was tortured for six days, his mistreatment including being hung from a door, electrocution, and being prevented from sitting down for four days. Ahmed told his family when they visited him in February that interrogators demanded: “Who do you work for? Who do you shoot for? Is it Al-Wefaq? Where do you publish your pictures? Who pays you for that?”

Three years into a popular uprising, Bahrain’s monarchy has brutally suppressed journalists and dissenters under sweeping anti-terrorism laws. During this time, at least three news providers have been killed and many others have been victims of arrest and torture, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In the run up to this year’s Formula One race - previously cancelled in 2011 - authorities of the ruling Sunni monarchy have hardened their stance on dissent through mass arrests and lengthy sentences, according to theBahrain Centre for Human Rights. Two of the centre’s presidents, Nabeel Rajab and Abdulhadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja are currently in prison, while its acting vice president, Sayed Yousef, was forced into self-exile in December 2013. The centre also reports that media professionals Qassim Zain Aldeen, Abdulla Al Jerdabi, Jassim Alnuiami, Jaffar Marhoon and Mohammed Al Oraibi have been jailed and subjected to torture, alongside hundreds of political prisoners.


 

Suggested Tweet:

#FreethePress calls for the release of #Bahrain journalists tinyurl.com/ptt99nw and all pro-democracy protesters #F1


Resources:



  • BCHR Report Launch: Terrorism Law in Bahrain: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/6796





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Andrew Heslop

Date

2014-04-06 09:34

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