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Bahrain Intensifies Crackdown on Opposition, Human Rights Groups

VIDEO Report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmYI5OHlW1U

In Bahrain, a government crackdown on opposition and human rights activists has escalated with a new round of arrests. Over the weekend, twenty-three people were detained on charges of plotting the violent overthrow of the Bahraini government. The suspects include prominent members of the Shia opposition as well as human rights activists. As many as 250 people have been arrested in the crackdown in less than a month. Speaking to Democracy Now!, Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said he is facing arrest after being publicly named a terrorist in the Bahraini media.

Nabeel Rajab: "It’s getting very dangerous working on documentation of human rights. On a daily basis, you see my picture in the newspaper as a terrorist or supporting terrorism and all that; attacking me on the radio by a program just made an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, accusing us, accusing me of contacting international organization, giving false information to international organization to overthrow the government. If they arrest me, I’m not better than the others. I mean, I know this is also the cost of the work, the human rights work, the documentation, the reporting for international organizations that’s getting the government angry. And this is the cost of our work, and we are willing to pay for it."

Nabeel Rajab went on to discuss the US role in backing the Bahraini government.

Nabeel Rajab: "The] Bahrain government is a friend of the Western countries—and the European and the American. They are very influential in this part of the world. Unfortunately, for the past many years with all these violations against human rights, European Union and the United States government did not play a positive role. There, always economics and the flow of oil were a priority, and the rights of human—the last thing they would talk about [is] the rights of people here."


THE OBSERVATORY: BAHRAIN: Violent crackdown continues to target human rights defenders

Paris-Geneva, September 8, 2010. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), denounces the smear campaign against several human rights defenders and the arbitrary arrest of several other human rights defenders, orchestrated in the context of a broad wave of arrests targeting indiscriminately human rights defenders as well as political and religious activists who criticise the regime in the run-up to parliamentary elections.

On September 1, 2010, the newspaper Al-watan published a long article on an alleged terrorism network, recently uncovered by the Bahraini authorities. Along with the article, Alwatan published pictures of people accused of being part of it or supporting it and notably Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and FIDH Deputy Secretary General, and Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Middle East Coordinator at Frontline, who are both accused of providing support to the alleged network. They were accused in the articles of being “active in publishing unjust reports” and Mr. Al-Khawaja was more specifically referred to as being “associated with many international organisations using the work on human rights issues as a cover, but focusing on damaging the image of Bahrain in regard to human rights and claiming the decline in the indicators of freedoms based on undocumented statistics that are not updated with actual situation”. On September 3, 2010, Al-Watan published again the names and photos of the two defenders and repeated similar accusations. On September 4, 2010, the national security in co-operation with the Bahrain National News Agency (BNA) published a statement on the alleged terrorist network which mentioned Mr. Rajab as one of the persons officially accused of involvement in said network. The agency removed Mr. Rajab's name and photo from its statement the following day.

Furthermore, on September, 4, 2010, Mr. Ali Abdulemam was summoned to present himself at the NSA Office at 9 pm. Mr. Abduleman, who created in 1999 a news website on Bahrain

(www.bahrainonline.org) and a blog, has been active at the international level raising attention to the situation of freedom of expression and the media environment in Bahrain. He was arrested by the Bahraini national security agency (NSA) for allegedly spreading "false^news" on his news portal and has been detained incommunicado since then. On September 5, his news website was shut down by the authorities and remains unavailable in Bahrain and from abroad.

According to the information received, within the same context, since August 19, six other human rights defenders have been arrested and remained detained incommunicado pursuant to the anti-terrorism law: Mr. Suhail Al-Shehabi, member of the Committee of the relatives of detainees and the Committee of the Unemployed, Mr. Ahmed Jawad Al-Fardan, member of the Committee of the relatives of detainees in Karzakan, Mr. Ali Jawad Al- Fardan, member of the Committee of the relatives of detainees in Karzakan, Mr. Salman Naji, member of the Committee of the Unemployed, Mr. Abdul Hadi Al-Saffar, Chairman of the Committee against high prices and actively involved in other associations including the Committee of the relatives of detainees and Mr. Hassan Al-Haddad, member of the Committee of the Unemployed.

The Observatory recalls that Messrs. Abduljalil Al-Sengais, Abdulghani Ali Issa Al- Khanjar, Jaffar Al-Hessabi and Mohammed Saeed, remain in detention under terrorism charges and reiterates its condemnation regarding the acts of severe torture that several of them suffered since detention that some of them have allegedly been tortured during interrogation.

In this context, the Observatory fears that the smear campaign merely aims at discrediting Messrs. Rajab and Al-Khawaja's human rights activities and fears for the moral and physical integrity of all human rights defenders in Bahrain, in particular those who have been arrested since August 15.

The Observatory urges the Bahraini authorities to immediately release Messrs. Abduleman, Abduljalil Al-Sengais, Abdulghani Ali Issa Al-Khanjar, Jaffar Al-Hessabi, Mohammed Saeed, Suhail Al-Shehabi, Ahmed Jawad Al-Fardan, Ali Jawad Al-Fardan, Salman Naji, Abdul Hadi Al-Saffar, and Hassan Al-Haddad, to put an end to any kind of harassment against them and to refrain from hindering activities of promotion and protection of human rights, in line with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Bahrain.

For further information, please contact:

· FIDH: Fabien Maitre, + 33 1 43 55 14 12

· OMCT: Seynabou Benga, + 41 22 809 49 39


Freedom House: Bahrain Crackdown Grows More Concerning

Washington- September 7, 2010

Freedom House is deeply concerned about the ongoing crackdown against human rights activists, political opposition, and religious minorities in Bahrain leading up to the October parliamentary elections.

Yesterday’s arrest of leading pro-democracy blogger Ali Abdulemam comes amidst one of the harshest sectarian crackdowns by the Bahraini government in years. The repressive campaign has included censorship of the media, as well as the arrest and reported torture of political opposition and other human rights activists. Since early August, nearly 200 activists have been detained, many without access to family or legal counsel.

“The government of Bahrain is blatantly quashing any opposition prior to the election in October and attempting to cover it up by muzzling the media,” said Paula Schriefer, acting executive director at Freedom House. “Freedom House demands the Bahraini government release Ali Abdulemam and all other the detainees immediately, without further harm.”

Yesterday, it was reported that authorities had arrested Abdulemam on charges of spreading “false news” on BahrainOnline.org portal, one of the most popular pro-democracy outlets in Bahrain. The portal, along with other opposition sites, is censored in Bahrain and journalists have been banned from reporting on the recent detentions. Many of the detainees have reportedly been tortured, including leader of the Shiite opposition party Haq, Abdeljalil Al-Singace. Al-Singace was charged over the weekend, along with dozens of others, with attempting to overthrow the government.

Parliamentary elections in Bahrain are scheduled for October 23, 2010. The al-Khalifa family, which belongs to Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim minority, has ruled the Shiite-majority country for more than two centuries. Shiites are underrepresented in government and face various forms of discrimination. After a slight opening of the political climate in 2006, when opposition members participated in parliamentary elections for the first time, fear of growing Shiite political power has increased tensions between the Shiites and the ruling Sunni minority over the last few years, sparking periodic government crackdowns.

Bahrain is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.

For more information on Bahrain, visit:

Freedom in the World 2010: Bahrain

Freedom of the Press 2010: Bahrain

Countries at the Crossroads 2010: Bahrain

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

HRW: Bahrain: Halt Threats Against Rights Defenders

King Should Order Independent Investigation Into Torture Allegations

September 7, 2010

(Washington, DC) - Bahrain should stop threatening local rights defenders who have criticized the alleged torture of prominent opposition activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

In a letter to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on September 3, 2010, Human Rights Watch expressed grave concern after a pro-government newspaper linked Nabeel Rajab and Abd al-Hadi al-Khawaja, two prominent rights activists, to an alleged "terrorist network," and accused them of providing "false information" to "international organizations" to prompt interventions that harm Bahrain's reputation. Rajab and al-Khawaja are the president and former president, respectively, of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), an independent group whose legal standing the government does not recognize. Rajab sits on the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch's Middle East division.

According to contacts with first-hand knowledge of interrogations by the public prosecutor of recent detainees, questions focused on the detainees' ties to the BCHR as well as alleged contacts with international rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, rather than their alleged links to perpetrators of violence in Bahrain.

"This crude and unfounded public attack on Rajab and al-Khawaja is particularly distressing in light of reports from the BCHR and others about interrogations of persons arrested in connection with this so-called network," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "In addition to distressing allegations of torture, the interrogations appear to be focused on entirely legitimate contacts these individuals may have had with local and international rights groups."

On September 1, the pro-government daily Al Watan featured a lead article alleging that Rajab and al-Khawaja are linked to a "terrorist network," which the newspaper alleged had been responsible for attacking persons and property in Bahrain as well as plotting to carry out sabotage in the country. Accompanying this article, both on the front page and inside pages of Al Watan, was a graphic display with their photos as well as photos of other alleged participants in this network, including three elected opposition members of parliament. A similar article alleging that Nabeel Rajab is a member of this network appeared on the website of the official Bahrain News Agency on Saturday, September 4, although it was removed the following day. The BCHR and other local human rights groups have sharply criticized the government's treatment of the detainees, and publicized reports indicating that security forces have been involved in their torture and ill-treatment.

The Al Watan allegations appear despite a recent gag order from the government's Public Prosecution Office (PPO) barring any coverage in any media of matters relating to the current arrests and official investigations aside from statements of the PPO itself.

In its letter to King Hamad, Human Rights Watch said that recent arrests of high-profile opposition leaders and activists "appear to be linked to public criticisms of policies of [the Bahraini] government rather than acts of violence or incitement to violence." Human Rights Watch noted that the initial arrests featured individuals who had participated in a London event where they criticized Bahrain's human rights record. The PPO reportedly charged some of the individuals with alleged crimes such as "inciting hatred and contempt against the regime" and accused them of "contacting and working with international organizations." On September 4 authorities arrested Ali Abd al-Imam, a prominent blogger who has managed the popular Bahrainonline.org web portal for more than a decade, reportedly for "spreading false information."

Human Rights Watch called on King Hamad to commission an independent investigation into recent allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prominent opposition leaders and demonstrators by security forces.

Bahrain's crackdown on opposition activists comes in the wake of a period of persistent street violence in which demonstrators have burned tires to block roads and thrown Molotov cocktails at security forces. In its letter to King Hamad, Human Rights Watch said that it upholds the government's right and responsibility to protect persons and property from violent attacks and to maintain public order, but that it needs to meet this responsibility in a manner that respects basic rights.

Bahrain has ratified the Convention against Torture, which prohibits torture and other ill-treatment under all circumstances and prohibits the use of statements made as a result of torture as evidence in legal proceedings. In a February report, Human Rights Watch documented the systematic use of torture by security officials for the apparent purpose of securing confessions from security suspects in the 2007 to 2009 period. Bahraini officials claimed in response that torture is not systematic, and that any official found to be responsible would be punished, but to Human Rights Watch's knowledge, there have been no independent investigations or prosecutions concerning cases documented in its report.

Bahrain is also a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protects freedom of expression and the right to receive and exchange information.

"It is with regret, therefore, that we address to you this letter, which is prompted by what appears to be an unbridled return to practices that routinely violate basic human rights," Human Rights Watch wrote in its letter to King Hamad. "We urge you to once again take the lead in bringing these practices to an immediate halt and re-committing Bahrain to a path of respect for and protection of the human rights of all Bahrainis."


CPJ: Prominent online journalist arrested in Bahrain

New York, September 7, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Bahraini authorities to release Ali Abdel Imam, a leading online journalist who was arrested Saturday on charges of spreading "false information." The arrest is the latest in the government's ongoing crackdown on dissent. Abdel Imam is founder of the news website BahrainOnline. Abdel Imam, who established the site in 1999, has made it one of the most popular news outlets in Bahrain, said Nabil Rajab, vice president of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights.

According to a posting on his Facebook page, Abdel Imam went to National Security Apparatus (NSA) offices on Saturday after being summoned by the agency. The next day, the official Bahrain News Agency claimed Abdel Imam had been arrested while "trying to flee to Qatar." His website was shut that same day, according to CPJ sources.

Abdel Imam's detention comes amid a government crackdown on opposition activists, which comes ahead of October parliamentary elections. On August 27, the public prosecutor issued a gag order banning journalists from reporting on the crackdown. Among the first wave of detainees was Abduljalil Alsingace, a blogger who has been critical of the government and who tracks human rights issues for the opposition Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy.

International, regional, and local human right groups have called on authorities to investigate allegations of torture made by some of the detainees.

"The arrest of Ali Abdel Imam is a disturbing development in Bahrain's attempts to censor coverage of its crackdown on dissent," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program ‎coordinator. "We call on the authorities to release him immediately and lift the gag order on journalists covering such arrests."


RSF: Bahrain: Arrests, torture and website-blocking as situation worsens alarmingly

Published on 7 September 2010

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrests of bloggers and other human rights activists in Bahrain, which is becoming systematic, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

The latest blogger to be detained is Ali Abdulemam, an online activist for the past 11 years and contributor to Global Voices Advocacy, who was arrested on the evening of 4 September after receiving a summons to report to the national security department. The authorities said he was arrested as he was trying to flee the country.

Abdulemam is accused of disseminating false information on BahrainOnline.org, an Internet forum he created. It is one of the most popular Bahraini websites with 100,000 visitors a day, although access is blocked within Bahrain. One of the first Bahrainis to use the Internet for activist purposes, he has criticised Bahrain’s human rights violations in many international conferences.

Under the pretext of combating terrorism, the Bahraini authorities have launched a major offensive against those who speak out about the human rights situation. Reporters Without Borders is particularly concerned about the allegations or torture and mistreatment it has received. The international community, including UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay, must intercede to get these practices stopped.

Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, a Reporters Without Borders partner organisation, is the target of a smear campaign in the government media. After reading in the 5 September issue of the Gulf Daily News that he is regarded as the member of a “sophisticated terrorist network,” he is expecting to be arrested at any time (http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/source/XXXIII/169/pdf/PAGE02.pdf).

Access to dozens of political, religious and free speech websites has been blocked since 13 August and, on 26 August, the prosecutor’s office banned the Bahraini media from providing any independently-reported coverage of the current wave of arrests. So now both the Internet and the media are gagged.

A total of 23 people have been officially detained under a 2006 anti-terrorism law, with the prosecutor’s office deciding to hold them for another 60 days. The real number of arrests is said to be more than 160. Most of those being held are Shiite politicians and activists of different political tendencies who are accused of conspiring and inciting sabotage against the Sunni monarchy.

Four of the first activists to be arrested – Abdul Ghani Al-Kanjar of the Bahraini National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture, Mohammed Saeed of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Jaafar Hisabi and Abdeljalil Al-Singace (http://en.rsf.org/bahrein-unacceptable-arrests-of-human-20-08-2010,38186.html) – say they have been tortured. Al-Singace was reportedly beaten and humiliated, Reporters Without Borders is worried about his state of health.


International PEN: BAHRAIN: Activist arrested; fears of ill-treatment.

8 September 2010 RAN 46/10

International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee is seriously concerned by the arrest of academic and human rights activist Dr Abdul-Jalil Alsingace, who has been held incommunicado since 13 August 2010. He is believed to be facing charges under national security and counter-terrorism laws, although it is widely believed that the charges are politically motivated and that he is targeted for his criticism of the Bahraini authorities. His arrest appears to be part of a crackdown on Shia activists in the run up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. International PEN is alarmed at reports that he has been ill-treated and tortured in detention. Dr Alsingace is partially paralyzed from polio and requires assistance to walk, and there are mounting concerns for his well-being in detention. International PEN urges the Bahraini authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Alsingace and all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful expression of their opinions.

According to PEN's information, Dr Alsingace, head of the human rights office of the Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy, was arrested at Bahrain International Airport on his return from London on 13 August, where he had been attending a conference at the House of Lords during which he had criticised Bahrain's human rights practices. He was initially accused of ‘inciting violence and terrorist acts', before being formally charged under national security and counter-terrorism legislation. According to a statement by a public prosecution official, Dr Alsingace is among four leading Bahraini Shia activists to be facing charges including ‘the planning and instigation of violence, conducting a wide-ranging propaganda campaign against the Kingdom and seeking to overthrow the regime by force'. The men are believed to be currently held on a sixty day detention order, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

Background In the run-up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections in October this year, there have been a series of violent protests in the Gulf state of Bahrain led by Bahrain's majority Shia community, who have long complained of discrimination by the Sunni ruling elite. This has led to an unprecedented wave of repression in the country in which many have been targeted for peacefully expressing their views, including political, religious and human rights activists. Most have been released after a brief detention, but at least twenty-three have been charged and are currently still detained incommunicado.

Dr Alsingace teaches engineering at the University of Bahrain and authors his own blog (http://alsingace.blogspot.com//). He was previously detained in 2009 and held for several months on charges of plotting to overthrow the government before being given a royal pardon.

For further background go to:



Take Action

Please send appeals: • Expressing serious concern about the incommunicado detention of Dr Abdul-Jalil Alsingace, and seeking details of the charges against him; • Expressing mounting concern for his welfare, and calling for a full investigation into reports that he has been tortured and ill-treated in detention; • Urging the Bahraini authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and to immediately and unconditionally release Dr Alsingace and all others currently detained solely for the peaceful expression of their opinions.

Send appeals to:

His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa King of Bahrain Office of His Majesty the King P.O.Box 555 Rifa'a Palace Kingdom of Bahrain. Fax: +973 176 64 587

Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs P.O.Box 450 Al-Manama Bahrain. Fax: +973 175 31 284

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Bahrain in your country if possible.

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@internationalpen.org.uk


Amnesty: Bahrain activists must receive a fair trial

6 September 2010

Amnesty International has urged the Bahraini authorities to ensure a fair trial for 23 Shi'a Muslim activists accused of terrorism and plotting to overthrow the government.

All but two of the 23 were arrested as part of an increased clampdown by the authorities on Shi'a opposition and human rights activists in the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections.

Many of those detained have been held incommunicado amid reports of torture and other abuse.

Most are members of opposition political organizations such as al-Haq and other Shi'a groups, but a few are human rights activists

Hassain Meshaima', the Haq secretary general, and Sa'eed Al-Shehabi, secretary general of the Bahrain Freedom Islamic Movement, live in London and have been charged in their absence.

The 21 who are in custody were taken before the Public Prosecutor in the Bahrain capital Manama between 27 and 31 August and formally charged, according to media reports.

"The Bahraini authorities must ensure that all those charged receive a fair trial that meets international standards," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"We are particularly concerned that they could be at risk of the death penalty if convicted."

All 23 men are charged with "forming an illegal organization" aiming to "overthrow the government and dissolve the constitution", inciting people to "overthrow and change the political system of the country", fundraising and planning terrorist acts, and other offences under Bahrain’s 2006 anti-terrorism law.

'Abdul-Jalil al-Singace, the leader of al-Haq, was arrested on 13 August when he arrived back in Bahrain after visiting the UK.

As well as the other charges, he is accused of "running an illegitimate network” and "leading sabotage cells... contacting foreign organizations and providing them with false and misleading information about the kingdom."

His arrests sparked popular protests, some of which turned violent.

Seven other opposition figures who were arrested in August face similar charges.

Another 13 activists, all held in detention, are accused of "joining the network... which aims to overthrow the government and change the political and social regime of the state... (by) illegal means."

During interrogation some of the detainees were asked questions about their relationship with the Bahrain Centre of Human Rights, which has been banned since 2004.

Nabeel Rajab, a well-known human rights activist and director of the Centre, has been described in some Bahraini newspapers, which also published his photograph, as a supporter of those arrested. There are fears that he too could be arrested.

Amnesty International has called for the Bahraini authorities to order an immediate independent investigation into reports that some of those detained were subjected to torture or other ill-treatment following their arrest.

On 28 August Mohammad Habib al-Miqdad a Shi'a cleric who had been held since 15 August, told the Public Prosecutor that he had been suspended by the wrists for several hours and punched by security officials while he was detained reportedly at the headquarters of the National Security Agency in Manama.

His lawyer, who was allowed to observe but not participate directly when Mohammad Habib al-Miqdad appeared before the Public Prosecutor, told Amnesty International that his client had visible marks on his body which appeared to have been caused by torture.

Other detainees are also reported to have alleged torture, including ‘Abdul-Jalil al-Singace, ‘Abdul-Ghani ‘Ali ‘Issa al-Khanjar and ‘Abdul-Hadi al-Mokhoder.

“The Bahraini authorities must also investigate reports that these individuals were tortured or otherwise ill-treated during their time in detention and if the reports are confirmed, those responsible must be held to account.”

No date for the trial has been given.

Read More

Bahrain: allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be independently investigated (Public statement, 3 September 2010) Bahrain intensifies crackdown on activists and clerics (News, 18 August 2010)


BAHRAIN: IHRC refers treatment of activists to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

IHRC appeals to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to take up case of Bahraini human rights activists subjected to torture and other forms of abuse after being arrested during current crackdown on civil society activists and critics of the government.

6 September 2010.

The IHRC, which is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, has written an open letter to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, demanding that he look into the treatment of civil society activists recently arrested in Bahrain, and reportedly subjected to severe forms of torture and degrading treatment while being held incommunicado for over two weeks.

The arrested activists include Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Haq Movement, who was arrested on 13 August, as he and his family returned to Bahrain after addressing a meeting at the House of Lords of the British Parliament. Dr Al-Singace was permitted to meet his lawyers for the first time last week, which is how details of his treatment have been revealed.

Others who were arrested have subsequently been hospitalised as a result of their treatment in detention. These include Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad, a religious scholar, human rights activist and president of Al-Zahra charity; Abdulghani Khanjar, the official spokesperson for the Truth and Justice coalition; and Abdulhadi Alsaffer.

In the letter to the UN Special Rapporteur, Massoud Shadjareh, Chair of the IHRC, gives details of the forms of torture used on Dr. Al-Singace, including physical beatings, sleep-deprivation and being forced to stand for long periods despite the fact that he normally uses a wheelchair or crutches since being partially paralysed by polio.

He also highlights the fact that the broad and ambiguous language of the 2006 counterterrorism legislation, under which the detainees have reportedly been charged, is so broad that is enables the government to criminalize anyone who demands the basic rights to freedom of expression and association.

The letter informs the Special Rapporteur that the IHRC has concluded from its work on Bahrain that security officials routinely use torture for the purpose of securing confessions from suspects, and demands that he investigate Bahrain for clear breaches of its obligations as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture.

Massoud Shadjareh, Chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said:

“The treatment of Abdul Jalil Al-Singace and other arrested in the recent crackdown on civil society in Bahrain confirms what we have long suspected about Bahrain: that the state is now using such appalling tactics as a form of intimidation against human rights defenders and other members of civil society in order to try to suppress opposition to its increasingly brutal rule.

“Bahrain has a very poor human rights record, and it appears to be getting worse. The UN Human Rights Commission and all those genuinely committed to freedom, human rights and justice, must demand the immediate release of Al Singace and other political prisoners, and a radical change in the Bahraini regime’s approach to legitimate and peaceful political activism in the country.”

For more information please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 208 904 4222 or (+44)7958 522196.


Bahrain : In the Waged War against Freedom of Expression : Torture , Blocking And Prohibition of Publication

The Arabic Network Denounces Detaining The Blogger Ali Abdelemam. Security Crackdown on Bahraini Activists Steps Up

Cairo , September 6th , 2010

The Arabic Network for Human rights Information strongly denounced the escalated crackdown on political activists and human rights defenders in Bahrain in the past few days. Bahrain witnessed detentions ,torturing activists and blocking tens of websites reporting on these assaults , last of which was detaining the blogger and internet activist Ali Abdelemam and the prosecution decision to prohibit publishing on activists’ case.

The blogger Ali Abdelemam received a phone call on 4/9/2010 at Iftar time from Bahraini security to inform him to be present at their office on 5/9/2010 morning at 9:00 am. Ali did not go because there was no official summoning order from an investigation authority. However, he was arrested at noon on charges of disseminating false news on Bahrain affairs on the web site , http://bahrainonline.org , managed by Ali . Lately , Ali has been reporting on retreat of freedoms in Bahrain and on security torturing activists and politicians.

Ali was detained before in 2005 because of content on his website ” National Bahraini Forum” in a similar crackdown . As well, the website was blocked many times because of its critic nature.

This detention comes in a horrifying crackdown on Bahraini activists reminiscent of the gloomy era of the British Head of Security , Henderson , the criminal.

Bahraini security arrested a group of political activists, human rights defenders and religious figures in the kingdom such as Abd El Galil Al Singace , owner of the blog , http://alsingace.katib.org , Salman Naji , Sheikh Abdallah AlMahrous , Mohamed Said BCHR member and many others.

Detainees were physically and psychologically tortured by security in the presence of the prosecution that justified torture instead of deterring perpetuators . This hostile attack also reached to websites and blocked tens of them because they reported torture incidents of which was the site of the biggest political group in Bahrain , http://www.alwefaq.org , and many other sites and blogs. Bahraini authorities also blocked all hidden copies of the blocked sites on Google. The crackdown took restrictive measures on all media in the kingdom in order to act freely against activist in utmost blackout.

ANHRI said , ” This is the fiercest war waged on freedom of expression since the king has assumed power. The prosecution , instead of raising to its duties and opening impartial inquiries into the torture incidents , misinformation , media manipulations and blackout , decided to prohibit publishing any news on investigations with activists. This casts unpleasant shadows on the role of prosecution regarding these assaults and is a serious indication of colluding with security in their ruthless offense on activists”.

The Arabic Network as it expressed deepest dismay at these unprecedented offenses committed by security against freedom of expression in Bahrain , requests the prosecution to act impartially and fairly and start inquiries in transparency instead of prohibiting publishing. ANHRI asks of prosecution to assume its responsibility in serving justice. ANHRI also asks all activists and media personnel worldwide to expose these practices and become substitutes for Bahraini activists of the websites that Bahraini Telecommunications Authority has blocked.