24 Oct, 2007

IFEX / BCHR Alert: Three writers for banned Internet site convicted of criminal defamation, fined

ALERT - BAHRAIN

23 October 2007

Three writers for banned Internet site convicted of criminal defamation, fined

SOURCE: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Manama

(BCHR/IFEX) - On 21 October 2007, the Higher Criminal Court convicted three Bahraini writers of insult and defamation, fined them 200 Bahraini Dinars (approx. US$530) and charged them 51 BD (approx. US$135) in damages, in addition to court fees.

The writers were convicted of defaming the director of Dar Al-Manar Elderly Care Centre and her husband, in an article published in the electronic journal "Al-Saheefa" ( http://www.alsaheefa.net ). The three writers are Mr Saleh Al-Amm, a journalist, writer and the editor of the journal; Muath Al-Meshari, a columnist for "Al-wasat" newspaper; and Fareed Al-Shayeb, a writer for "Al-Saheefa".

"Al-Saheefa" is one of the electronic sites banned within Bahrain by the local authorities.

The case began earlier in 2007, when the public prosecution detained and interrogated Al-Amm, later releasing him on bail of 500 BD (approx. US$1330) after charging him with insult and defamation over content on the website. The Lower Criminal Court sentenced Al-Amm to three months' imprisonment or a fine of 300 BD (approx. US$795). In addition, Al-Meshari and Al-Shayeb were fined 200 BD for writing several articles on the website related to the management of Dar Al-Manar, in which they alleged administrative and financial corruption.

The three defendants appealed this first conviction in March. However, the Appeal Court ruled non-jurisdiction and transferred the case to the High Criminal Court, which declared its ruling on 21 October, charging the three writers with defamation, as outlined by Article 365 of the Bahraini Penal Code, Article 15, of 1976.

It is to be noted this Penal Code article and the Press Code number 47 of 2002 have been used, in recent months, to interrogate and prosecute more than 14 journalists as well as bloggers and website administrators.

The BCHR expresses its concern over the systematic attack on all forms of free expression in Bahrain, through the use of notorious laws, promulgated to curtail that freedom.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the Bahraini authorities: - asking that they stop harassing journalist and writers - requesting that they lift the bans on all electronic sites dealing with public, cultural and human rights affairs relevant to Bahrain - urging them to nullify those laws that infringe upon free expression, to ensure conformity with international human rights standards

APPEALS TO:

His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-khalifa, King of Bahrain Riffa, Bahrain Fax: +973 1721 1363

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa Cabinet Prime Minister Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 1721 1363

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of BCHR. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit BCHR.

22 Oct, 2007

BCHR/IFEX Flash - Bahraini Authorities Ban an Academic Publication

Bahraini Authorities Ban an Academic Publication

Country/Topic: Bahrain Date: 20 October 2007 Source: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) Person(s): Nabeel Rajab Target(s):Authors, Historians, Artists, Academicians, Researchers Type(s) of violation(s): Ban, censorship, forbidden, Urgency: Flash

(BCHR/IFEX) - The following is a statement from BCHR, a member of IFEX:

In a statement published today info@bahrainrights.org, the Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) disclosed the news about none endorsement of a book manuscripted by the academician Dr Nader Kathem titled: 'Memory Exploitations: In a Pluralistic Society , Saddled with History'. It is a collection of academic series published by the author in the local press, during the past period.

Dr Kathem's book falls in the context of the development of multiculturalism in Bahrain and discusses the historical and cultural constraints which prevented the establishment of cultural pluralism in Bahrain and the completion of coexistence and harmony between its communities .

After the legal period of three months of submitting a publication request, which was on 19 July 2007, Dr Kathem has not received a response or the authorization from the Publication Directorate of the Ministry of Information (MI) to allow for printing his series in the form of a book.

The vice president of the BJA. Mr Adel Marzouk stated that 'procrastination of the Ministry of Information represented by the Department of Printing and Publishing in issuing an authorization of printing Dr Kathem's book is a mislead compass to genuine monitoring and an indication to a retreat from political reform, respect of freedom of speech and creativity'

It is to be noted that Dr Kathem book will be the second publication to be held within one year, after the novel 'Omar bin Al-Khattab, A Martyr' by the well known writer Abdullah Khalifa, which was passed to the Ministry of Information over seven months ago. For an earlier novel by Mr Khalifa, 'Husain's Head', the official response by the MI is to forbid and ban its publication in Bahrain.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its concerns over the persistent censorship of all forms of freedom of expression in Bahrain. It also seeks the intervention of the new minister to play a active role in changing the policies by which the Bahraini MI is run, considering the world openness and the knowledge transfer across, overcoming all technological and physical borders.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the Bahraini Authorities asking for their respect to freedom of expression by academicians, researchers, novelists and journalists. This require:

- lifting ban on publications in general and in particular, academic researches, novels and artistic products.

- showing respect to academic researchers, artists, writers and novelists who take the burden to produce creative products to humanity.

-taking measure to amend Press and Publication Decree code no 47 of 2002 to ensure its compliance with the international declarations and covenants as well as vows of its leadership to respect freedom of expression .

TAKE ACTION TO:

- His Hightness Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa- King of Bahrain

Riffa -Bahrain

- His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa Cabinet Prime Minister Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

MORE INFORMATION:

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org , info@bahrainrights.org , Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org

info@bahrainrights.org http://www.alayam.com/ArticleDetail.asp?CategoryId=2&ArticleId=285250

20 Oct, 2007

BCHR/ FEX : The Hollywood film "The Kingdom" has been banned in Bahrain

ALERT - BAHRAIN

19 October 2007

Film banned

SOURCE: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Manama

(BCHR/IFEX) - The Hollywood film "The Kingdom", which explores the "war on terror" through a fictional story happening in Saudi Arabia, has been banned in Bahrain. This act was confirmed by the Publication and Press Directorate of the Ministry on Information without indicating the reasons behind the censorship order.

The film depicts an FBI investigation of two terrorist bombing attacks that took place in Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh in May 2003 and in Al-Khobar in June 1996, during which over 100 people of different nationalities were killed.

Previously, the Bahraini authorities had banned other films from being viewed in cinemas, including the religious film "The Passion of the Christ", which was banned last year on the grounds that it was against Islam because it depicted a prophet (Jesus).

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concerns at how freedom of expression is being targeted and curtailed. This ban is part of a long series of prohibitions and censorship which did not spare artistic products, novels and documentaries.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the Bahraini authorities: - urging them to lift the ban on films of a documentary nature which exhibit no offence to public beliefs and/or traditions - asking that they cease making decisions on behalf of the public and viewers - urging them to take measures to amend Press and Publication Decree code no 47 of 2002 to ensure its compliance with international declarations and covenants

His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa King of Bahrain Riffa, Bahrain Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa Cabinet Prime Minister Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org

19 Oct, 2007

IFEX ALERT : Women's rights defender forbidden from appearing in media

IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community _______________________________________________________________

ALERT - BAHRAIN

16 October 2007

Women's rights defender forbidden from appearing in media

SOURCE: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Manama

**For further information on previous attempts to silence Ghada Jamsheer, see IFEX alerts of 22 March 2007 and 2 June 2005**

(BCHR/IFEX) - BCHR has expressed its concern about the news revealed by Ms Ghada Jamsheer, a women's rights activist and president of the Bahrain Women's Petition, of the existence of a formal decision preventing her from appearing in any of the Bahraini media. Ms Jamsheer stated that the ban includes radio, television and all local newspapers.

Sources in Bahrain link this media ban to the Bahraini Royal Court and to Ghada Jamsheer's April 2007 letter to the King, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, calling for the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Women, chaired by the King's wife, Sheikha Sabika Bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, due to its failure to promote women's rights and its political loyalty to the Government.

Ghada Jamsheer is a prominent defender of women's rights in the Gulf region and, in 2006, was named one of the heroes of freedom in the Arab region by the American magazine "Time" and one of the ten most influential women in the Arab countries by "Forbes" magazine.

In May 2006, BCHR issued a statement shedding light on the death threats, bugging and harassment faced by Ms Jamsheer in relation to a statement published in local newspapers.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the Bahraini authorities: - asking them to respect women's rights, including freedom of expression in particular - calling on them to cease hindering the access of women and other human rights defenders to the media and other means of public communication - urging them to stop harassing and intimidating human rights defenders in general and women in particular

APPEALS TO:

His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-khalifa King of Bahrain Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa Prime Minister of Bahrain Fax: +97 3 1 721 1363

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of BCHR. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit BCHR.

18 Oct, 2007

BCHR: Collective punishment to citizens planned a trip to Um-Ne'ssan island

BCHR expresses its deep concerns about the reaction and ill-treatment carried out by the Bahraini Authorities to a group of citizens planned to make a "site seeing" trip to Um Ne'ssan- third largest island of the Bahrain archipelago. This island, to the west of Bahrain, is the first landing of King's Fahd Causeway, linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.

Hundreds of security troops, armed with fired tear gas and heavy rubber bullets, were deployed early Monday morning to prevent entry to the sea, besieging the entire west coast from Al-Jasra down to Malekeya. Helicopters were hovering over the entire coast, as well as to support special force, and riot police scrutinizing vehicles intending to pass over King's Fahd Causeway. Around noon time,

A day earlier, the Bahrain's Interior Ministry issued a statement indicating that " the island of Um Ne'ssan is allocated by the King for special military use of Bahrain defense force and therefore, it's banned for anybody to approach or to carry out any activity close to it or he will be violating the law and will be punishable according to Article 135 of the Bahraini Penal Code".

The trip was organized by a local committee comprised of members from four villages on the west coast of Bahrain: Malekeya, Karazakan, Demestan and Hamala. The committee planned the trip to coincide with Eid Al-Fitr vacation, and publicized an advert few days ago such that groups leave the four villages, either by sea or land through King's Fahd Causeway, at 1pm on Monday, October 15, 2007. The idea of the trip came after the minister of municipalities issued a statement saying all the islands were public property.

Just prior to noon time, all roads leading to the west coast have been sealed off with, the aid of armed troops on the ground and the helicopters hovering in the sky of the area. Witnesses reported that Associated Press photographer was threatened by a masked member of the security with a pistol, when he tried to approach the coast and was ordered to leave the premises.

Considering the tenseness of the situation created by the local security bodies all over the area of the west coast and in compliance with the request of many mediators, religious and political figures who promised to raise the islands issue to open the path for future trip, the committee of the trip to Um-Ne'ssan convened publically at 12:30pm. The meeting, which lasted over an hour, was with those wishing to go to the islands, and after discussing the matter thoroughly, the committee decided collectively to postpone the trip, after which everybody peacefully dispersed.

Nevertheless, the special forces at Malekeya coast started intimidating the fishermen who were near the coast looking after their boats, which were dragged by Bahrain Marine Forces last Saturday into the middle of the sea, as first reaction to the advert of the trip. The special forces then fired gas and rubber bullets on the local fishermen who hurried back to their houses. The forces then, besieged the small village, showered it with chemical tear gas and rubber bullets. As a reaction, rubber tyres were blazed by protestor, which were pursued by the security forces, and started ransacking some houses.

Witnesses reported some injuries, and apprehension of some youths, who were collectively subjected to torture and were beaten by batons and heals of the rubber boots before being released. The injuries included women, children and old women who suffered from suffocation and inhaling the chemical tear gas.

BCHR denounces the Authorities reactions and measures taken against the citizens, either in the four coastal villages, or those who were subjected to humiliating inspection prior to the polling station of King's Fahd Causeway. It through light on the issue and legitimacy of islands and public lands misappropriation, considering the inherent right for the right of the people of Bahrain to travel to public islands, as guaranteed by the international charters. BCHR demands setting out a national independent enquiry on this issue ensuring protection and maintenance of public properties, as well as bring to justice those responsible of the violations and atrocities and collective punishment carried out by the security forces in and nearby Malekeya.

18 Oct, 2007

Anti-riot police clash with Bahrainis protesting restricted access to tiny islands

Anti-riot police clash with Bahrainis protesting restricted access to tiny islands The Associated Press Published: October 15, 2007

MANAMA, Bahrain: Hundreds of security troops fired tear gas and heavy rubber bullets on Monday to disperse Bahrainis who gathered in an attempt to visit the kingdom's third largest island, which the public is normally restricted from visiting, local officials and witnesses said. Security troops deployed along Bahrain's western coastal line, especially in Shiite-dominated villages to prevent Bahrainis from approaching Um Nasan island, witnesses said. Helicopters hovered above and women were seen hurrying to their houses fearing anti-riot police, which sealed off roads leading up to the village of Malikiya and other small towns on the western coast. "They fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the people gathering," said Sayed Hashim, one of the protest organizers. No one was allowed to approach the coastal line, including an Associated Press photographer who was threatened by a masked policeman with a pistol and ordered to leave.

Some young Bahrainis reacted by setting tires on fire, according to witnesses. "The young protesters tried to blow up a gas cylinder, but they failed to do so," said Ahmed Mansour, a city council official in Malikiya. The protests appear to have been triggered by Shiite opposition in Bahrain to defy a taboo by debating the royal family's ownership of some 30 Bahraini islands and banning citizens and residents from having access to them. Regular Bahrainis occupy four main islands while the rest are inhibited by royal family palaces and some are used for military purposes. Bahrain's Interior Ministry said in a statement that the island of Um Nasan is for military use and national defense. "Therefore it's banned for anybody to approach or to carry out any activity close to it or he will be violating the law and will be punishable by law," the statement carried by Bahrain's official news agency said. The idea for Monday's protest came after the minister of municipalities issued a statement saying all the islands were public property. A committee of residents from western villages then sent an invitation to Bahrainis to visit the island. On Sunday, the royal endowment warned citizens against visiting Um Nasan. Discussion over the royal family's possession of the majority of Bahraini islands was taboo for many years until about two years ago when the parliament, which Shiites make up about 40 percent, began questioning it. Shiites, who make up more than 60 percent of Bahrain's 700,000 people, have long complained they are squeezed out of power by the Sunni monarchy. Part of the controversy was also sparked when the Web browser-based mapping tool Google Earth was first introduced in Bahrain, showing pictures of the vast areas of Bahraini territories occupied by royal family palaces. Only those who obtain a permission from the king are allowed to enter those islands. Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, is a close ally of Washington.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/...n-Protests.php

16 Oct, 2007

IFEX ALERT: Internet censorship continues as authorities block website of popular civic organization

IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community _______________________________________________________________

ALERT - BAHRAIN

15 October 2007

Internet censorship continues as authorities block website of popular civic organization

SOURCE: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Manama

(BCHR/IFEX) - BCHR has learned that the Bahraini authorities have taken measures to block access by people in Bahrain to the website of the HAQ movement ( http://www.haaq.org ).

The HAQ Movement for Liberties and Democracy is a popular civic organization, established in November 2005, calling for respect for rights and democratization in Bahrain. HAQ and other popular organisations are not registered under the national Civic Organizations Law number 21 of 1989 and the Political Societies Law number 26 of 2005. These laws are believed to have been legislated to impose a legal leash on civic organizations, a suspicion substantiated by the day-to-day practices of the authorities. They are also are considered to be in violation of well-known international human rights covenants and charters. Nonetheless, because HAQ, like many other popular organizations, is not registered under these laws, the authorities consider it to be illegal, and therefore a target for censorship and repression.

Such acts of Internet censorship by the Bahraini authorities are common. Earlier in 2007, BCHR was aware of over 26 blocked websites, local and international. These blockages were mainly in reaction to online reporting about political scandals in Bahrain, especially what was locally dubbed the "Bandergate report" about the misappropriation of public lands, administrative and financial corruption, discrimination and favoritism.

Blocked sites included:

1. Six forums belonging to some villages in Bahrain ( http://www.juffair.com/vb , http://www.tubli.net , http://www.karzakan.com , http://alduraz.net/xforum , http://www.eskanaali.com , http://www.shahrakkan.org ); 2. Four general forums ( http://www.bahrainonline.org , http://www.montadayat.org , http://www.ahraralbahrain.com , http://www.wattani.net ); 3. Two sites of civic organizations and popular committees ( http://www.bhteachers.org/phpBB2/ , http://www.shaheedbh.com ); 4. The sites of two political organisations and movements ( http://www.vob.org and http://www.aldemokrati.org ); 5. The sites of two human rights organizations ( http://www.bahrainrights.org , http://www.hrinfo.net ); 6. The sites of two religious groups (Copts, Arab Christians: http://www.freecopts.net , http://www.arabchurch.com ); 7. One Kurdish nationalist sites ( http://www.kurdtimes.com ); 8. One secular site ( http://www.ladeeni.net ); 9. Two electronic newspapers ( http://www.alsaheefa.net , http://www.rezgar.net ); 10. Two news and advertising sites ( http://www.Albawaba.com , http://www.annaqed.com ); 11. One humour site ( http://www.bahraintimes.org); 12. One blog ( http://www.Mahood.tv ).

Censorship of these sites was made on the basis of the notorious Press Decree Code No. 47 of 2002. Over 14 Bahraini journalists have been interrogated, prosecuted, or taken to trial based on this law.

These actions of the Bahraini authorities violate the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the Bahraini authorities: - requesting they respect human rights, and the right to freedom of expression in particular - calling upon them to stop blocking websites - asking them to use only legal means, in compliance with the international charters and covenants, when dealing with civil organizations - urging them to amend Press Decree Code No. 47 so that it conforms to international human rights standards

APPEALS TO:

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, King of Bahrain Mr. Jehad Bu-Kamal, Minister of Information Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 1 721 1363

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of BCHR. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit BCHR. _______________________________________________________________ DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE 555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1 tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879 alerts e-mail: alerts@ifex.org general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/

14 Oct, 2007

BCHR has become Part of IFEX network

At the General Meeting of the International Freedom of Expression exchange (IFEX) held in Montevideo, Uruguay, this week, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights joined more than 70 group across the world by being accepted as a member of the IFEX network. The meeting was attended by the BCHR vice-president Nabeel Rajab and More than 120 free expression advocates and experts from around the world. Earlier this year the BCHR joint the international federation for Human Rights FIDH.

"It is an honor and a step forward for the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights to join IFEX network," president Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja said. "Membership in such a respected and well established organization indicates the credibility of BCHR's work towards promoting freedom of expression and establishing human rights culture in Bahrain."

IFEX definition and goals

The International Freedom of Expression exchange (IFEX) is a voluntary affiliation of freedom of expression organizations which promote cooperation and exchange of information regarding the defense and promotion of freedom of expression and opinion worldwide.

IFEX function

1. To provide a general forum for the discussion of ideas, information and strategies in the field of freedom of expression. 2. To provide a mechanism - through the General Meeting, extraordinary meetings, or electronic communications - for all or some members to develop joint positions, to undertake cooperative action, and to initiate related programs and projects. 3. To facilitate an international exchange of information concerning freedom of expression, as well as to facilitate communication between and among IFEX members, through the support of the IFEX Clearing House.

28 Sep, 2007

BCHR: Moosa Abd-Ali has been granted political asylum in the United Kingdom

The BCHR has recently learnt that Moosa Abd-Ali Mohammed, 26 years, has been granted political asylum in the United Kingdom. AbdAli is a known human rights activist in The Unemployed and Low Income Committee living at Eker village . After organizing several demonstrations demanding rights for the unemployed, Moosa was intimidated, abducted, severely beaten and sexually assaulted by masked men thought to be related to the Special Security Forces. His case is recognized by international human rights organizations and also led to public demonstrations in the country.

Mr. Abdali left Bahrain to the United Kingdom and applied for political asylum after reciving more phone calls, threatening not only his safety but also the safety of his family. Eventually Moosa Abd-Ali left the country in fear for his safety.

Background information and Nature of the alleged violation • Abduction • Sever Beating • Sexual assault • Intimidation According to Mr. Abd-Ali, persons affiliated with or acting on behalf of Bahraini security forces abducted him on the night of November 27th 2005. His abductors released him the same night. On November 30 he filed complaints with the police at Isa Town and with the Public Prosecutor’s office in Manama alleging that his abductors beat him severely, assaulted him sexually, and threatened him with further harm unless he ceased his activities on behalf of the Committee of the Unemployed. Mr. Abd-Ali provided the Bahrain Center for Human Rights with copies of medical examinations, one dated November 28th, from the International Hospital of Bahrain, and the other dated November 29th, from the Accident and Emergency Department of Salmaniyya Medical Center, a facility of the Ministry of Health. The International Hospital report noted contusions on both Abd-Ali’s legs and his upper back consistent with his allegation that he was beaten. The Salmaniyya Medical Center report also noted contusions on Mr. Abd-Ali’s legs, and that the alleged sexual assault did not involve penetration, also consistent with Mr. Abd-Ali’s allegations. The Salmaniyya Medical Center report also contained a notation, “Police to be informed.” Description of the incident On Monday November 28th, 2005 early morning at 1:00, five civil automobiles surrounded the house of the activist Moosa Abd-Ali, as he was taking the garbage out. They were all masked, in plainclothes, and armed with batons and personal guns. They introduced themselves as security personnel asking him to go with them. When Moosa asked for an arrest warrant they mocked him with foul language. Detecting their voices and peculiar accents, Moosa was able to realize that they were from the same Special Forces who attacked him and others on June 19th during an unemployment protest. Moosa was severely injured during that protest and underwent medical treatment which has continued until today. When Moosa tried to escape the perpetrators started shooting in the air. He was then handcuffed and driven to an isolated remote spot of Sitra Island Industrial Area, where he first was brutally beaten using batons, then two of the offenders stripped him of his clothes and got on the top of his back one after the other in direct sexual attempt. Due to his resistance they were not able penetrate, but Moosa was left polluted with sperms over his body. Before leaving, they threatened to assault his family members, and told him to carry this message to the other members of the Committee for Unemployed if they still insist on the protest that was to take place the next day. At around 2:30am, they left the scene, leaving Moosa behind worn out on the ground. On December 4th, Lt. Gen. Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa , the Minister of Interior, met with Mr. Abd-Ali, his father, and Nabeel Rajab, vice-president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, to discuss the attack against Mr. Abd-Ali. This meeting followed several days of disturbances in Manama in which police clashed with demonstrators who were protesting about Mr. Abd-Ali’s treatment. At this meeting Sheikh Rashid affirmed that the security services under his authority would fully cooperate with an investigation into the matter that was being conducted by the Public Prosecutor. Several national and international human rights organizations including Human Rights watch , Front line and BCHR urge the government to conduct a thorough, impartial, and speedy investigation into Mr. Abd-Ali’s allegations, to make the results public, and to hold accountable any security officials or other persons found to be responsible for this attack. Mr. AbdAli suspended his cooperation with the authorities in December 13th, 2005. After some time Moosa reported more phone calls, threatening not only his safety but also the safety of his family. Eventually Moosa Abd-Ali left the country in fear for his safety.

18 Sep, 2007

BCHR: Bahraini Authorities Persistent Campaign Defaming Human Rights Defenders: Signals Possible Crackdown

Bahrain: 19 September 2007 The Bahrain center for Human Rights (BCHR) is highly concerned regarding the objectives and negative effects of the campaign run by the Bahraini Authorities to discredit the BCHR as well as other known activists. The information distributed includes fabricated accusations of relations to acts of violence which occurred in Bahrain during the eighties and nineties, sympathizing with Iran and coordinating with neo-conservatives in the United States!! Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, president of the BCHR has been a main target of the Authorities' defaming campaign (a Biography of Mr. Alkhawaja: See below). The Authorities campaign, which is trying to manipulate foreign media and international organizations, is using, among other methods; sending direct communications, using well known global information websites and launching new websites. Sizable human and financial resources have been allocated to carry out the campaign (Details of the Authorities Campaign: see below). The apparent objective of the campaign is to weaken regional and international cooperation and solidarity with members of the BCHR and other national activists who are considered out of the control of the Authorities. The BCHR’s international relations have in many occasions served as protection for human rights activities and the release from detention of human rights defenders including the President of the BCHR in 2004 and 2007. (BCHR’s Credibility and recent Int. activities: see below) The Bahraini Authorities has a record of defaming activists who report on, or publicly criticize, high ranking officials and Authorities policies, especially if western media and international human rights organizations are involved. The authorities tend to use the national public media in its campaigns while the activists are denied access to defend themselves. (Bahrain Authorities: A record of defaming activists: see below) The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls upon all those concerned to be aware of the misleading information and to do whatever possible to support human rights defenders in Bahrain and to hold the Bahrain authorities responsible for targeting activists. For more details please contact: Nabeel Rajab Vice-president Bahrain Center for Human Rights Email: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org Details of the Authorities Campaign: The BCHR was informed by credible sources that Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa, the powerful Minister of the Royal Court, held a meeting two months ago to speed efforts to encounter the “anti Authorities activities on the regional and international levels”. The Minister, who emphasized specially on the “harm that BCHR inflicting to the image of the country”, encouraged the attendees to contact and influence foreign media and human rights organizations and activists. He assured the participants of “unlimited budget” to carry out the outlined tasks. According to the sources, the meeting was attended by around 50 persons including selected officials from the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security Bureau and members of two Authorities-operated GONGO’s, namely the Bahrain Jurist Society, lead by Yousif Al-Hashemy and the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society Lead by Shura-Council member Faisal Fulad. Earlier this year, the Bahraini Authorities appointed Sheikh Abdulla Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, a senior security officer and member of the royal family, as the head of foreign-media affairs at the Ministry of Information which “keeps control” on foreign-media reporting on the country. Before his appointment, Sheikh Abdulla was the deputy head of National Security Bureau. The former head of the foreign-media affairs, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa ,who is a member of the royal family, was appointed as the Bahrain Ambassador to the UK to look after and mastermind the Authorities campaign against activities run from London. As a result of the aforementioned, an office was opened in London for the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society to encounter the activities of human rights NGO’s. A group of Arab journalists was formed and two new websites have been recently launched called “Illa Al-Watan” and “Bahrain Forum” which resort to publishing false reports about the BCHR and other political and human rights activists. Among the group working for the new ambassador are two consultants, Hassan Mousa, a former Human rights activist, and Hugh Canavan, a British who worked as an advisor to the foreign media section at the Ministry of Information in Bahrain before taking over the new role in London. Both Mousa and Canavan have been taken parts in activities representing that of the Bahrain Authorities and have been in delegations to Geneva and London to counter the activities of Bahraini human rights defenders, especially members of the BCHR. Mr. Mousa, although presents himself as member of OMCT, he is also a member of the Bahraini Government Delegations in official meetings with treaty bodies of United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) like CERD: Committee of Elimination of Racial Discrimination and CAT: Committee Against Torture. Mr. Canavan participated in House of Lords event about Bahrain, scheduled on December 15th, 2005 taking and defending the postures of the Government of Bahrain. The BCHR has been informed by foreign media reporters and members of International NGO’s that they have received communications aimed at discrediting the BCHR and its president Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. Some of these communications were signed by Hugh Canavan who introduced himself as a British citizen and a former advisor of the Bahrain Ministry of Information. Mr. Hugh Canavan was a main editor of the “Bahrain Brief”, published by the Bahrain Authorities to influence international opinion. By examining the “information” sent by Mr. Canavan, it was found identical to information publicized in English by anonymous sources on well known websites such as Wikipedia.com and open democracy which contain falsified information clearly publicized to damage the BCHR’s credibility and to create a positive image of members of the Al-Khalifa ruling family in Bahrain. Bahrain Center for Human Rights: Credibility and recent activities: 1. The BCHR has maintained strong links and worked closely with international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Frontline. The closure of the Center in 2004 served to enhance the BCHR’s credibility on the regional and international levels. Post its formal dissolution by the Bahraini Authorities, the BCHR succeeded in securing memberships in well known International organizations such as: FIDH (The International Federation for Human Rights), IFEX (International Freedom of Expression) , and CARAM-Asia (a regional Asian organization working on Migrant Workers Rights). The BCHR was honoured to be frequently invited by the UN High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCR) to present alternatives (Shadow reports) to Bahrain State reports on Torture to Committees on Torture and Racial discrimination in 2005 and 2007. 2. Despite its closure (Official dissolution) in September2004 and the various abuses and harassments against its members, BCHR activities have shown distinguished enhancements in volume and type of internal and international activities. Among the recent activities this year were an international campaign staged by the BCHR in Washington, New York, Brussels and Geneva, highlighting the different gross human rights violations in Bahrain. The Authorities may have been further provoked when one of BCHR members took part in the latest international media coverage by CNN, BBC, and well known newspapers highlighting: corruption of the ruling family in Bahrain, poverty, sectarian discrimination and failed democracy in Bahrain. Furthermore, the president of the BCHR addressed the 5th session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2007 on the issue of corruption and failure in housing policies. 3. BCHR was successful in highlighting and blowing the whistle on many human rights violations, represent distinguished diversity of tasks. Some of these issues are: a. Freedom of expression and assembly b. Labour and migrants rights c. Activists and human rights defenders d. Victims of Torture e. Religious Freedom f. Political Naturalization g. Discrimination and Favoritism h. Corruption i. Poverty and Economical rights j. Women Rights k. Violating Legislations l. Guantanamo prisoners Bahrain Authorities: A record of defaming activists: The Bahraini Authorities has a record of defaming activists who publicly criticize high ranking officials and government policies, especially if western media and international human rights organizations are involved. Abdelraouf Al-Shayeb, the president of the Committee of Victims of Torture was arrested twice on allegations relating to “sexual relations with a female domestic worker” and “promoting prostitution”. The charges were dropped in the first case, but he was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment in the second. The two cases were brought against Al-Shayeb after a trip to meet with international organizations in Geneva and the United Kingdom. Mr. Abdelrouf was granted political asylum in the UK in 2006 as a result of those cases and other harassments. Another case was of Musa Abdali, member of Committee of Unemployed, who was abducted by persons affiliated with or acting on behalf of Bahraini Security bodies beat him severely, assaulted him sexually, and threatened him with further harm unless he ceased his activities. As a result of such atrocities, Mr Abdali was granted political asylum in the UK starting August 2007. Ghada Jamsheer and Suad Mohamed, chairperson and member of the Women Petition Committee, were the target of a defaming campaign this year after traveling to Geneva and participating in an interview in Al-Hurra TV Channel. Another example was the BCHR Vice-President Nabeel Rajab who was subjected to intensive smear campaign by unknown sources using mobile messages as well as by post. A report by a former government consultant revealed information that link the campaign with a secret web lead by high officials. The campaign against Mr. Rajab is believed to be a reaction to his role in publicizing the scandalous Bandar gate report. Mr. Rajab was summoned and questioned by the National Security in relation to the case. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja: Biography of the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Based on his activities and credibility, Mr. Alkhawaja has taken many roles and positions in regional and international organizations. He is currently a member of the International Advisory Network in the Business and Human Rights Resource Center chaired by Mary Robinson, former UN High commissioner for Human Rights. Mr. Alkhawaja is also member of the Advisory board of the ““Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies”. He is an expert and member of the coordinating committee of The Arab Group for Monitoring Media PerformancePerformance which has monitored media in the last election in Bahrain and in six other Arab countries. Mr. Alkhawaja was a part of Amnesty international’s fact finding mission in Iraq. He was assigned as a researcher and project consultant by Amnesty international and other International organizations. His struggle for human rights was acknowledged at the International conference of Human Rights Defenders in Dublin and was chosen by the Arab Program for Human Rights Defenders to be awarded as the activist of the region in 2005. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja: History of struggle and Human Rights Activities: After finishing high school in Bahrain in 1977, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja traveled to the UK for further education. In 1979, he joined student activities in London reacting to demonstrations and arrests in Bahrain. Many students abroad, including Alkhawaja, were denied passport renewal and were asked to return home. In the summer of 1980, fellow students of Alkhawaja were detained and interrogated under torture for their activities in London. Alkhawaja’s family’s house was ransacked and searched. Fearing detention, Abdulhadi decided to stay abroad. In 1981 the Authorities staged a crackdown on dissidents of the Government, alleging the uncover of a coup attempt by the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain. Hundreds of civilians, most of them were students, including minors, were detained and exposed to torture. Seventy Three (73) of the detainees were brought before the notorious, now abolished, , State Security Court which accused them of memberships in an illegal organization and attempting to use violence, eventually sentencing them to 7-25 years of imprisonment. During the Eighties and Nineties, The Islamic Front was one of four main opposition groups operating in exile. However, since 2002, the group has been operating in Bahrain as a registered political group under a new name: The Islamic Action Society (AMAL). Some members of the Islamic Front have been appointed in high rank positions since their return to Bahrain. Until 1989, Mr. Alkhawaja had been a member of the Islamic Front and consequently an active member of the Committee to Defend Political Prisoners in Bahrain (CDPPB), which was active in Damascus, London, Paris, and Geneva working mainly on arbitrary detention, torture, unfair trial, deprivation of nationality and coercive deportation. During the Eighties, The CDPPR adopted the case of the 73 political prisoners and cases of other detainees and groups. In 1991, Mr. Alkhawaja was granted political asylum in Denmark which became the base of the Bahrain Human Rights Organization (BHRO) that was established by Mr. Alkhawaja and other Bahrainis living in exile in the Scandinavian countries and the UK. The formation of BHRO followed Alkhawaja’s resignation from the CDPPB and the Islamic front in 1992. During the period 1992-2001 The BHRO gained mounting respect for it's persistent, professional, and non-partisan activities at the international level which contributed to the political changes that took place in Bahrain when the new ruler came to power in 1999. After his return to Bahrain in 2001, following a general amnesty, Alkhawaja was a main founder and the director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) which was officially registered in June 2002. However, because of his human rights activities, Mr. Alkhawaja has been subjected to detention, unfair trial, and physical assaults. The well documented <a hrefhttp:="" hrw.org="" photos="" 2005="" bahrain="" "="">physical assaults against Mr. Alkhawaja in March 2002, June/July/September 2005, have not been investigated despite pledges by UN bodies and international NGO’s. The closure of the BCHR in Sep. 2004 and the abuses against its members including Mr. Alkhawaja attracted wide protests and reactions both inside BAHRAIN and on the international level. Because of such reactions the king was obliged to “Amnesty” Mr. Alkhawajaon two occasions: September 2004 and May 2007 to release him from detention and to call off the unfair trials on charges related to his criticism of the regime on issues of corruption and human rights abuses.