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German reporter denied Bahrain visa to cover FIFA congress

Bahraini immigration authorities should grant freelance journalist Robert Kempe a visa and ensure that journalists are able to cover international events in the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Kempe told CPJ that Bahrain denied him a visa to cover FIFA's 2017 Congress, which is being held in the capital Manama today and tomorrow, for the German broadcaster ARD.

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Bahrain Denies Entry to Human Rights Watch Representative

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities denied an entry visa this morning to a Human Rights Watch researcher.

In recent years, Bahrain has denied entry to scores of human rights advocates and critical journalists, as well as the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and jailed Bahraini rights defenders.

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Shared statement on the update of the EU dual-use regulation

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) together with Access Now, Amnesty, Digitale Gesellschaft, Elektronisk Forpost Norge (EFN), Foundation for Information Policy Research, International Federation for Human Rights, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights, Liberty, Privacy International, and Reporters Without Borders have released a shared statement calling on the European Commission to focus on human rights when updating its legislation on the export of dual-use items. See the statement below and in pdf format here.

Introduction

The NGOs below welcome the proposal of the European Commission to update controls on the export of dual-use items, which represents an important effort to make human rights central to European Union trade policy.

By expanding the definition of dual-use goods, and specifically including cyber-surveillance technologies, the Commission proposal recognizes that digital surveillance gravely threatens human rights; especially the right to privacy and freedom of expression. It poses a threat to the ability of human rights groups, journalists and activists to fulfill their watchdog role.

The proposal – by the explicit inclusion of human rights considerations – is also an important recognition of the pre-existing responsibilities of both states and businesses. Under international human rights law, states have a responsibility to protect people against human rights abuses by non-state actors, including by regulating such non-state actors under their controls to prevent them from causing or contributing to human rights abuses in other countries. Companies also have a pre-existing responsibility to respect human rights in their operations, including by carrying out human rights due diligence to “identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their human rights impacts.”

We applaud these positive steps and express the hope that the proposal will lead to regulations that will provide a mechanism for the realization of these human rights responsibilities. During the implementation phase, member states should aim to ensure that all EU level unilateral changes are adopted within international export control control lists.

In this spirit, we call attention to the following key areas which we hope can be further improved.

1. Human Rights Protections Must be Strengthened

Content of human rights considerations should be strengthened. Article 8, Article 4(1)(d) and Article 14 contain language regarding the consideration of human rights either in decisions on whether to subject non-listed dual-items to licensing, or whether to grant export licenses. However, these clauses either lack specificity (in the case of the latter) or contain limitations (in the case of the former).

These clauses should be strengthened to guard against all risks to human rights and to recognize that serious human rights violations may occur outside situations of armed conflict or recognized situations of internal repression. In doing so, the proposal should require the consideration of relevant European human rights protections, such as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as those developed by the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Court of Human Rights, such as the opinion in Zakharov v. Russia, which offers guidance on the specific safeguards needed to ensure that secret surveillance complies with human rights law. The EU should ensure that the same human rights standards apply abroad as do inside the EU.

Exports that pose a substantial risk to human rights must be denied. Article 14(1)(b) requires only that the competent authorities in Member States – when considering export authorizations –“take into account… respect for human rights in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country of international humanitarian law,” while Article 14(1)(c) mandates consideration of the internal situation in that country, such as the existence of armed conflict. However, Article 14 does not mandate a denial of export licenses in cases where the consideration of the above criteria reveal human rights concerns.

The proposal should make clear that states are required to deny export licenses where there is a substantial risk that those exports could be used to violate human rights.

The proposal should also make clear that where there is no legal framework in place in a destination governing the use of a surveillance item, or where the legal framework for its use falls short of international human rights law or standards, the export must be denied.

2. All Relevant Surveillance Technology Must be Covered

A mechanism to update the EU control list should be agreed, which will decide on updates to the EU control list in a transparent and consultative manner, taking into account the expertise of all stakeholders, including civil society, and international human rights law.

The extension of the catch-all clause in the proposal is a welcome step which holds the potential to help future-proof export controls by allowing for the inclusion of new and emerging dual-use technology on the basis of the potential for human rights harms.

However, as drafted, the catch-all clauses do not adequately clarify the responsibilities of either states or businesses to assess the human rights risks posed by non-listed dual-use items. As such, this clause risks failing to achieve its human rights potential.

These requirements must be strengthened if they are to have a meaningful application. The human rights responsibilities of companies to investigate, prevent and mitigate human rights risks, as well as the obligations of states to oversee and regulate this process, must be clarified in order to ensure that all relevant dual-use technology is subject to licensing.

3. Greater Transparency is Needed

Transparency regarding export licenses granted, and denied, including information regarding the type of equipment concerned, the product category, description, value, destination country and end use/end user is crucial in enabling parliaments, civil society, industry, and the broader public – both in the EU and in recipient countries – to meaningfully scrutinize the human rights impact of the trade in dual-use items.

The Commission proposal contains provisions for the publication of an annual report by the Commission to the Parliament and Council, as well as requirements for publication when a non-listed dual-use item is subjected to authorization procedures by a member state. However, as it stands, neither of these provisions require a sufficient amount of detail.

The proposal should be amended to require that member states publicly disclose – at a minimum – information regarding individual license approvals and denials, the type of equipment concerned, the product category, description, value, destination country and end use/end user as well as the reasons for the approval or denial of licenses.

4. Protect Security Research and Security Tools

The proposal states, in the preamble, that export controls should “not prevent the export of information and communication technology used for legitimate purposes, including law enforcement and internet security research.” To reinforce the above principle currently stated in the preamble, the new regulation should include clear and enforceable safeguards for the export of information and communication technology used for legitimate purposes and internet security research.

First, the proposal should go still further to clarify that definitions of terms such as “intrusion software,” “technical assistance” and “intangible technology transfers” shall not be construed to cover uses such as private exploitation research, and legitimate security items such as anti-virus products, fuzzers, defensive pentesting, zero day exploits/vulnerabilities/proof of concepts, exploit generation software and jailbreak software. More and better defined exceptions for security research are required.

Second, the control language should be amended to prevent these sorts of overbreadth, taking into account the chilling effect of any language and also focusing on the intent of the exporter, in order to ensure that no offensive tools are controlled if they are used for defensive purposes. This should be accomplished via an inclusive consultation that takes account of specialized expertise in this area. If an item does not meet these requirements, it should be removed from the control list.

Third, cryptography items should be removed from the list, and no new items added where their inclusion undermines security research, such as forensics tools. Encryption is essential in supporting the safety and security of users, companies, and governments everywhere by strengthening the integrity of communications and systems.

*  *  *

We look forward to continuing to contribute to this process. Further information can be found at the individual websites of member organizations.

BAHRAIN: FIRST CIVILIAN CASE REFERRED TO MILITARY COURT

Bahrain’s authorities have referred a civilian to trial before a military court for the first time since 2011, after the King of Bahrain ratified a disastrous constitutional amendment in April 2017. Bahrain’s public prosecution referred the case of Fadhel Sayed Abbas Hasan Radhi, a victim of enforced disappearance, to the military court earlier today.

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The Human Rights Council adopts outcome of Bahrain's UPR

A total of 175 recommendations have been made to Bahrain by the Human Rights Council during Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 1 May 2017.

The Bahraini delegation in Geneva rejected criticism from UN member states despite evidence of human rights violations collected by many NGOs, including BCHR. Ahead of this review, many members of the main Bahraini human rights organizations had been prevented from travelling and taking part to the UPR process by the authorities. BCHR members have been particularly targeted, with four of our members affected by travel bans as an act of reprisals. The continued restrictions on NGOs and the recent travel bans, have sent a clear message to independent human rights organizations that there is no space for criticism in the international arena like the UN.

Freedom of association and protection of Human Rights Defenders

Many countries therefore recommended to Bahrain to uphold freedom of association and respect the work of human rights defenders. Ireland, in particular, recommended that Bahrain takes urgent steps to facilitate the work of civil society and human rights defenders, and guarantee protection of all persons from intimidation or reprisals for seeking to cooperate with the UN. Denmark recommend that Bahrain release all arbitrarily detained persons in Bahrain including Danish-Bahraini citizen Mr Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja a victim of torture, who just suspended his hunger strike, following strong UPR recommendations made to Bahrain on the release of political prisoners and activists.

Torture and death penalty

On the 15th January 2017 three individuals, all alleged victims of torture were executed by Bahrain, ending an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty. A number of the recommendations made to Bahrain in this UPR addressed the use of the death penalty in the country. Many countries recommended that Bahrain move towards the abolition of the death penalty and impose an official moratorium on the death penalty.

Following Bahrain’s review by the UN Committee Against Torture, member states made numerous recommendations during Bahrain’s review.  Among others Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, and Italy issued recommendations relating to the use of torture in Bahrain. Member states urged the state party to investigate allegations of torture, investigate individuals found responsible, and implement measures that allowed for the prosecution of perpetrators.

Military Courts and Anti-terrorism Law

Another particular concern was the use of military courts in Bahrain. The Netherlands recommend that Bahrain rescind the amendment of law 105b that allows for civilians to be prosecuted in military courts if accused of terrorism. Czech Republic recommended that Bahrain review the Anti-terrorism law and its implementation in order to ensure it could not be abused for harassment, detention and prosecution of dissenters.

Bahrain has made little progress implementing the recommendations it accepted during its last UPR in 2012. There has been no progress on essential rights reforms, BCHR therefore urges the Government to comply fully with the UPR recommendations it has accepted and to pledge to take further steps to implement the new UPR recommendations which have been formulated at this review.

 

Sheikh Isa Qassim: NGOs call on UK, UN, US and EU for Public Action Before 7 May Trial

Read the article here.
 

Mr. Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, United States

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, United Kingdom

Prince Zeid, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion

High Representative Ms. Federica Mogherini, European External Action Service
Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights

Jan Figel, Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union

4 May 2017

 
Your Excellencies,

 
We, the undersigned, write to you in advance of the 7 May 2017 trial of Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim, Sheikh Hussain Al-Mahroos and Mirza Al-Obaidli in Bahrain. We urgently request that you publicly call on the Government of Bahrain to drop the politically-motivated charges against these three men, and to call for the reversal of Royal Decree 55/2016, which stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship and rendered him stateless.

The stripping of Sheikh Qassim’s citizenship and his prosecution appear to be reprisals against his expression as a prominent Bahraini figure. Sheikh Qassim is the most senior Shia cleric in Bahrain, holding the rank of Ayatollah. He preaches in Duraz at the Imam Sadiq mosque, the largest Shia mosque in the country, and is seen by the majority of the Shia population as their spiritual leader. Sheikh Qassim was one of twenty-two elected members of the Constitutional Assembly, which in 1972 met, debated and wrote Bahrain’s first constitution. He was a Member of Parliament in the 1973 National Assembly, and following its dissolution in 1975 he directed his energies to his duties as a religious cleric.

The revocation of his citizenship in June 2016 and his continued prosecution in absentia, alongside Sheikh Hussain Al-Mahroos and Mirza Al-Obaidli, constitute violations of his rights to nationality and a fair trial. Moreover, the charges and method of prosecution appear to represent infringements of the freedom of religion.

Sheikh Qassim was rendered stateless by order of the Minister of Interior on 20 June. This was formalised soon after by Royal Decree 55/2016. Since that date, Sheikh Qassim’s hometown of Duraz has been under constant police blockade, and a sit-in outside his house has continued from that date to the present.

In their legal arguments, seen by NGOs, the Public Prosecution has resorted to name-calling against Sheikh Qassim and insulting his followers, stating, “He directed them [his followers] to break the law and to turn against their country and its fortunes,” and describes him as, “one who allowed himself to follow the law of the jungle.” Such language from the state’s prosecution encourages religious intolerance.

His prosecution is alarming not just as a violation of his rights to a fair trial and citizenship, but also for its impact on Bahraini religious freedoms. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedoms’ (USCIRF) latest annual report categorises Bahrain as a Tier 2 country, which is defined as one “in which the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious’ CPC [Countries of Particular Concern] standard.” USCIRF found a deterioration in the religious freedoms of Bahrain’s Shia, and highlights Sheikh Qassim’s nationality revocation and prosecution as a key, negative development.

The violation of Sheikh Qassim’s rights has led to further grave violations: On 26 January 2017, masked, plainclothes officers shot live ammunition against the peaceful sit-in outside his home in Duraz, fatally wounding 18-year-old Mustafa Hamdan, who died in March. No government entity has acknowledged responsibility for this attack nor have any independent investigations occurred to date.

The rendering stateless of Sheikh Isa Qassim violates his right to nationality, as enshrined in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). His trial in absentia constitutes a violation of his right to a fair trial, enshrined in Article 11 of the UDHR and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Further, his prosecution appears to threaten the religious freedoms, enshrined in Article 18 of the UDHR and ICCPR, of both Sheikh Qassim and his followers, as it disrupts their normal religious life without cause.

We urgently request ahead of the 7 May trial that you to call on Bahrain to drop the charges against Sheikh Isa Qassim, Sheikh Hussain Al-Mahroos and Mirza Al-Obaidli, and to reverse Royal Decree 55/2016 which rendered him stateless.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Bahrain Interfaith

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights

ARTICLE 19

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

BCHR's President Nabeel Rajab remains hospitalised while awaiting trials in May

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is deeply concerned about the ongoing pretrial detention of its President Nabeel Rajab, who has been detained for 326 days on multiple charges. His next court appearances are on 16 and 17 May. BCHR is also concerned about the deterioration of Rajab’s health; he remains in hospital after being admitted on 8 April following complications after surgery, and suffers from a number of health issues.

On 5 April 2017, Rajab underwent surgery, and according to updates from family members, was forced to wear dirty clothing soaked with blood and not provided with access to hygiene products, despite having a deep surgical wound at risk of infection.  Two days after the surgery Rajab was returned to solitary confinement, and was therefore put in a position of increased risk of medical complications due to unsanitary prison conditions.

Three days after he underwent surgery, on 8 April,  Rajab became increasingly unwell and shortly after his family visit  was rushed to Qalaa police hospital for emergency treatment. Rajab is receiving treatment related to complications following his surgery, after the wound became infected.

At the time of writing, Rajab remains in Qaala clinic. The medical center is not a public hospital but a division of the Ministry of Interior. According to information received by BCHR, his weakened immune system is slowing down the recovery process. Rajab remains under the supervision of Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) officers at all times. Family members are allowed to visit the facility and speak to him on a regular basis.

Prior to his most recent surgery, and in his current period of detention, Rajab was treated for gallbladder disease; he underwent a surgical cholecystectomy due to biliary colic and recurrent abdominal pain. Rajab also has a history of other medical conditions, including hypertension, gastritis, and degenerative disc disease. All of these conditions require timely, adequate and consistent medical care.

Rajab is President of BCHR, as well as Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human RIghts (GCHR), Deputy Secretary General of FIDH and a member of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Advisory Committee. He has been relentlessly persecuted for his human rights activities and jailed repeatedly on charges in violation of his right to freedom of expression.

On 2 April 2015, Rajab was interrogated and subsequently charged for allegedly “spreading rumours in wartime,” “insulting a neighbouring country,” and “insulting a statutory body.” These charges related to tweets and retweets concerning the war on Yemen, and allegations of torture in Bahrain’s Jau prison. The first hearing for these charges was held on 12 July 2016. The trial was adjourned for the twelfth time on 22 March 2017, and rescheduled for 17 May 2017. Rajab is facing 15 years in prison if convicted of these charges. The court ordered the release of Rajab during his 8th hearing in December 2016 prior to its adjournment; however, he was immediately rearrested on new charges in relation to televised interviews he gave to members of the media in 2015.

Charges in the second case against Rajab include allegedly spreading false information and malicious rumours about domestic matters with the aim of discrediting and adversely affecting the prestige of the state. The first hearing for this case was held on 23 January 2017. The trial has subsequently been postponed more than five times, and is now scheduled for 16 May 2017. If convicted of these charges Rajab is facing a prison sentence of three years.

If convicted on all of the above charges Rajab faces a total of up to 18 years in prison.

Rajab has also been charged for offences relating to articles he published in the French newspaper Le Monde, and the New York Times whilst imprisoned. Rajab is currently awaiting trial on these charges, and no trial dates have been set. Charges include allegedly “intentionally broadcasting false news and malicious rumours abroad impairing the prestige of the state,” and “spread[ing] false information and tendentious rumours” that insult Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council states and harm their relations. Both of these cases remain with the Office of the Public Prosecution.

The multiple charges against Rajab violate the universally recognised right to freedom of expression, and are indicative of the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists, and members of civil society in Bahrain. The use of extensive pretrial detention contravenes international legal standards requiring detainees to be tried in a timely manner.

BCHR strongly condemns the continued detention of Nabeel Rajab, and the inhumane and degrading treatment to which he has been subjected. BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain to release Nabeel Rajab, and to ensure that he, and other political prisoners are provided with adequate medical care. 

BCHR further urges the international community to continue to press for the release of Nabeel Rajab and other political prisoners, to call on Bahrain to respect and uphold basic human rights, and to provide adequate and timely medical care to detainees.

You can follow updates on Nabeel Rajab’s case here.

Trial of Sheikh Isa Qassim: Letter to the US

Six international human rights groups, including Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), urge the international community to call on Bahrain to drop charges against Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who's citizenship was revoked by royal order in 2016. 

Open letters have been sent to the UK, the EU, the US and the UN. See below the letter to the US.

Letter to UK FCO - Letter to EU - Letter to UN

 

Mr. Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State
United States
Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

4 May 2017

Secretary Tillerson,

We, the undersigned, write to you in advance of the 7 May 2017 trial of Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim, Sheikh Hussain Al-Mahroos and Mirza Al-Obaidli in Bahrain. We urgently request that you publicly call on the Government of Bahrain to drop the politically-motivated charges against these three men, and to call for Royal Decree 55/2016, which stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship and rendered him stateless to be dropped ahead of his trial in absentia.

Five UN Special Rapporteurs last year expressed concern over the systematic persecution[1] and repression of Bahrain’s Shia. Sheikh Qassim’s prosecution deepens that persecution. The stripping of Sheikh Qassim’s citizenship and his prosecution appear to be reprisals against his expression as a prominent Bahraini figure. Sheikh Qassim, the most senior Shia cleric in Bahrain, holds the rank of Ayatollah. He preaches in Duraz at the Imam Sadiq mosque, the largest Shia mosque in the country, and is seen by the majority of the Shia population as their spiritual leader. Sheikh Qassim was one of twenty-two elected members of the Constitutional Assembly, which in 1972 met, debated and wrote Bahrain’s first constitution. He was a Member of Parliament in the 1973 National Assembly, and following its dissolution in 1975 he directed his energies to his duties as a religious cleric.

The revocation of his citizenship in June 2016 and his continued prosecution in absentia, alongside Sheikh Hussain Al-Mahroos and Mirza Al-Obaidli, constitute violations of their rights to nationality and a fair trial. Moreover, the charges and method of prosecution appear to represent infringements of their right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Sheikh Qassim was rendered stateless by order of the Minister of Interior on 20 June. This was formalised soon after by Royal Decree 55/2016. Since that date, Sheikh Qassim’s hometown of Duraz has been under constant police blockade, and a sit-in outside his house has continued from that date to the present.

Sheikh Qassim was charged with money laundering, in reference to his role in the collection and redistribution of khums, an obligatory religious donation for Shia Muslims which is spent for religious and charitable purposes. Sheikh Qassim never received a summons, and his office was searched without warrant. The Public Prosecution states that, “He directed them [his followers] to break the law and to turn against their country and its fortunes,” and describes him as, “one who allowed himself to follow the law of the jungle.” The Prosecution belittle Shia who look to Sheikh Qassim for guidance, stating, “They never asked whether he was an honest man or just an imposter. Their tongues were knotted so they didn’t ask, their eyes were hypnotized so they didn’t see, and they lacked wisdom so they didn’t think.” Such language from the state’s prosecution encourages religious intolerance.

His prosecution is alarming not just as a violation of his rights to a fair trial and citizenship, but also for its impact on Bahraini religious freedoms. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedoms’ (USCIRF) latest annual report categorises Bahrain as a Tier 2 country, which is defined as one “in which the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious’ CPC [Countries of Particular Concern] standard.” USCIRF found a deterioration in the religious freedoms of Bahrain’s Shia, and highlights Sheikh Qassim’s nationality revocation and prosecution as a key, negative development.[2]

The violation of Sheikh Qassim’s rights has led to further grave violations: On 26 January 2017, masked, plainclothes officers shot live ammunition against the peaceful sit-in outside his home in Duraz, fatally wounding 18-year-old Mustafa Hamdan, who died in March. No government entity has acknowledged responsibility for this attack nor have any independent and impartial investigations occurred to date.[3]

Additionally, authorities have barred any Friday prayers from being held at the Imam Sadiq mosque, where Sheikh Qassim normally preaches, since June 2016. Over 80 Shia clerics have been subject to harassment in the past year. At least nine clerics have been sentenced to prison for “illegal gathering” and expression-related offences.

The rendering stateless of Sheikh Isa Qassim violates his right to nationality, as enshrined in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). His trial in absentia constitutes a violation of his right to a fair trial, enshrined in Article 11 of the UDHR and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Further, his prosecution appears to threaten the right to freedom of religion, enshrined in Article 18 of the UDHR and ICCPR, of both Sheikh Qassim and his followers, as it disrupts their normal religious life without cause, as well as the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the UDHR and ICCPR.

We urgently request ahead of the 7 May trial that you to call on Bahrain to drop the charges against Sheikh Isa Qassim, Sheikh Hussain Al-Mahroos and Mirza Al-Obaidli, and to reverse Royal Decree 55/2016 which rendered Sheikh Isa Qassim stateless.

Yours Sincerely,

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy

Bahrain Interfaith

Bahrain Center for Human Rights

European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights

ARTICLE 19

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

 

[2] United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, 2017 Annual Report, http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2017.USCIRFAnnualReport.pdf.

[3] Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, 18-year-old Mustafa Hamdan Dies After Security Forces Shooting, 24 March 2017, http://birdbh.org/2017/03/18-year-old-mustafa-hamdan-dies-after-security-forces-shooting/.

Freedom in the World 2017: Bahrain

Once a promising model for political reform and democratic transition, Bahrain has become one of the Middle East’s most repressive states. Since violently crushing a popular prodemocracy protest movement in 2011, the Sunni-led monarchy has systematically eliminated a broad range of political rights and civil liberties, dismantled the political opposition, and cracked down harshly on persistent dissent in the Shiite population.

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Bahrain 2016: Finishing Off The Margin

While the journalists in Bahrain are joining the world celebrating the “World Press Freedom Day” 2017, systematic and unjust Government policies continue to restrict what is left from the margin of press and media freedom in the country. An indication to that, at least, rising of violations to around 359 violations of basic rights such as; freedom of media, freedom of opinion, and expression.

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