Posts Tagged ‘Abdulhadi Al Khawaja’

Bahrain practices hospitality for Formula One: stuck in airport

April 5, 2018

Human rights defender Brian Dooley and Danish MP Rasmussen were not only refused entry into Bahrain but kept in the airport without a passport, reports the Irish Independent on 4 April 2018.

Brian Dooley has been held alongside Danish MP Lars Aslan Rasmussen for more than 12 hours in Bahrain International Airport after they travelled there to visit jailed Bahraini-Danish human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a prominent pro-democracy campaigner in Bahrain, who founded the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and worked  for the Dublin-based group Front Line Defenders. He received a life sentence in April 2011 for charges of terrorism and attempting to overthrow the government.

Brian Dooley is in Bahrain alongside Danish MP Lars Aslan Rasmussen (L)
Brian Dooley in Bahrain alongside Danish MP Lars Aslan Rasmussen (L)

Mr Dooley, who is from Dingle in Co Kerry and is now based in the UK, told Independent.ie: “Formula One fans planning to arrive this week should know what they’re getting into. Bahrain has become an out and out police state.” See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/11/30/closing-civil-society-space-a-euphemism-for-killing-human-rights-defenders/

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/irish-human-rights-campaigner-refused-entry-to-bahrain-36774371.html

 

Bahrain shows again how important it is to contribute to the Secretary-General’s reprisals report

April 28, 2017

NGOs and human rights defenders have until the end of May to submit cases of reprisals to the UN Secretary-General’s report, covering the period June 2016 to May 2017. The Call for submissions to the Secretary General’s annual report on cooperation with the United Nations, its mechanisms and representatives in the field of human rights – more frequently referred to as the ‘reprisals report’ – will be made public soon. Please send your submission to reprisals@ohchr.org.  For some of my earlier posts on reprisals see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/reprisals/

The report consists of a compilation of cases of intimidation and reprisals due to cooperation with the United Nations organisations and its specialised agencies in the field of human rights, including cases in relation to the Human Rights Council, its Universal Periodic Review and Special Procedures; Human Rights Treaty Bodies; the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, its field presences and Human Rights Advisers; United Nations Country Teams; human rights components of peacekeeping missions and other parts of the Secretariat or specialized agencies working in the field of human rights.

When submitting cases please ensure consent has been obtained from the alleged victim or his/her family and this is clearly indicated in your email; meaning 1) the victim or his/her family has been informed and has understood the possible security risks, and 2) the victim or his/her family has agreed to have his/her case included in the reprisals report;   Mention is made of whether or not the alleged act of reprisal has been referred to in any official UN publication (UN report, press release, public statement, video of UN conference etc.) and, if so, the reference to this publication, including document symbol number where relevant, is provided.  The report also contains a section on follow-up. Hence information in follow-up to cases included in the 2014 (A/HRC/27/38), 2015 (A/HRC/30/29) and 2016 (A/HRC/33/19) reports is also welcome. This information could for instance concern continued acts of reprisal or indicate measures that have been taken by the relevant State to investigate or prevent future reprisals from occurring. Please note that also for follow-up information the three requirements mentioned above must be adhered to.

Bahrain shows again how important this exercise is: According to Front Line Defenders there is a clear pattern of preventing HRDs to attend to the human rights sessions: From 24 to 25 April 2017, twenty-two human rights defenders in Bahrain were interrogated by the Bahraini authorities. All defenders received police summonses on 21 April 2017 to appear before the office of the General Prosecutor. Most of the human rights defenders who were summoned for interrogation received confirmation that the Public Prosecutor has issued travel bans against them. The interrogations, which lasted on average 3 to 7 minutes, were in relation to allegations that the human rights defenders had attended an illegal gathering in Diraz village sometime between 2016 and 2017. Ebtisam Al-Saegh and Hussain Radhi were among the twenty-two human rights defenders who were summoned, interrogated and later received confirmation that they were subject to a travel ban. In a separate case on 20 April 2017, Sharaf Al-Mousawi was prevented from traveling to attend a meeting on development in Lebanon. The  interrogations precede the upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 1 May 2017. 

 Ebtisam Al-Saegh   is a Bahraini human rights defender who works for the organisation Salam for Human Rights and Democracy. Hussain Radhi   is a human rights defender who works for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Sharaf Al-Mousawi   is President of the Bahrain Transparency Society, a non-governmental organisation  promoting transparency and the elimination of corruption in Bahrain. The organisation is also a partner organisation of Transparency International.

 On 25 April 2017, the Public Prosecution interrogated Hussain Radhi after he received a summons on 21 April 2017 by the Bahraini security forces. He was interrogated for three or four minutes and accused of participating in an illegal gathering; allegations which he denies. While returning from a trip on 20 April 2017, Hussain Radhi  was informed upon his arrival at the airport in Bahrain that on 14 April 2017, a travel ban had been issued against him by the Public Prosecution. 

 Twenty-one other human rights defenders faced the same situation between 21 and 25 April 2017. On 24 April, Ebtisam Al-Saegh was also interrogated for three minutes after waiting for a couple of hours at the office of the Public Prosecutor. A Police force made up of six vehicles came to her home on 21 April and delivered a summons for interrogation at the Public Prosecutor’s office. The human rights defender then inquired with  the Bahraini Immigration and Visas Office about her ability to travel and was informed that she faced a travel ban by order of the Public Prosecutor. Among the other human rights defenders who were  interrogated, and informed that they are banned from travel, are Abdulnabi Al-Ekri , Mohammad Al-Tajer , Enas Oun , Rula Al-Safar , Jalila Al-Salman , Zainab Al-Khamis , and Ahmed Al-Saffar . All 22 human rights defenders were accused of participating in illegal gatherings between October 2016 and January 2017 in the village of Diraz. All denied the charges and several noted that it would be impossible for them to even enter Diraz as it is blocked by checkpoints manned by security forces. The human rights defenders seem to believe that the summonses and interrogations were used to justify the travel bans  ahead of the upcoming UPR session in Geneva, Switzerland, in an attempt to deter their legitimate and peaceful work to protect and promote human rights in Bahrain and participate in international human rights mechanisms as is their right. 

In November 2016 <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/ebtisam-al-saegh-summoned-interrogation&gt; , several human rights defenders, including Ebtisam Al-Saegh and Hussain Al-Radhi, were interrogated and prevented from traveling ahead of that month’s Human Rights Council session.

See also: http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/bahrain/2017/04/d24314/ which contains a Joint appeal (of 25 April 2017) signed by 60 organisations around the world to release human rights defenders Nabeel Rajab and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who both require adequate medical care.

Source: Call for contributions to Secretary-General’s reprisals report | ISHR

Bahrain: Travails of a Family of Human Rights Defenders

September 12, 2014

On Tuesday, 16 September, Maryam Al Khawaja, the Bahraini human rights defender will return to court for her second hearing on charges of assaulting a police officer, which she denies. It’s now been nearly two weeks since Maryam was arrested at the airport following her return to Bahrain to visit her father. She was initially detained for seven days, but over the weekend a Bahraini judge ruled to extend her detention by an additional 10 days. This is a good occasion to draw your attention to a long but fascinating piece by Lawrence Weschler on Truthdig of 11 September 2014. Under the title “Terrorizing a Family of Human Rights Champions” he describes in detail what happened to the remarkable al-Khawaja family of democratic non-violent human rights defenders [it is rumored that for the first time a family as such was considered for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize].  Read the rest of this entry »

Human Rights Defender Maryam Al Khawaja stopped at Bahrain airport; may appear in court tomorrow

September 1, 2014

HRF logo today (1 September 2014) expressed fears for leading human rights defender Maryam Al Khawaja, who landed at Bahrain airport last night on a visit home and has been held by Bahraini authorities. Reports state that al Khawaja, a Danish citizen, was immediately detained and will be held at the airport until tomorrow. Bahrain is consistently revealing itself as a place where voices on human rights are not welcome,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “In the last two months, a U.S. diplomat, a member of Congress, and the NGO Human Rights First have either been kicked out of or not allowed into the country. Now Maryam has been taken into custody and will appear in court tomorrow after trying to visit her family, including her father who is on hunger strike in prison there. Lets hope the United States, United Kingdom, and other governments  will respond to whats happening to her with more than just an awkward silence.

For more information please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at bowsersoderb[at]humanrightsfirst.org.

via Leading Bahrain Human Rights Defender Stopped at Airport, May Appear in Court Tomorrow | Human Rights First.

Sad anniversary in Bahrain today: Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja arrested 3 years ago

April 9, 2014

30 human rights organizations express their serious concern for the health and well-being of imprisoned Bahraini human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. Mr. Al-Khawaja was arrested three years ago today, on 9 April 2011, and continues to require medical attention for injuries sustained during his arrest and subsequent torture.

Former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Mr. Al-Khawaja was sentenced to life in prison in June 2011 by a military court as part of a group of human rights activists and political leaders known as the Bahrain 13. The NGO state their belief that Mr. Al-Khawaja is being unjustly persecuted for his legitimate human rights activity.[In its September 2012 decision, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Mr. al-Khawaja’s arrest was due to his exercise of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. [According to the Working Group, the charges against Mr. al-Khawaja—including membership in a terrorist organization— were “vague” and “raise doubts as to the actual purpose of detention.” The Working Group also concluded that throughout Mr. Al-Khawaja’s arrest, detention, and trial, “the Government violated numerous international norms to the right to fair trial.”]
[The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) further concluded that Mr. Al-Khawaja was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment during his arrest and detention. Mr. Al-Khawaja was severely beaten, resulting in a broken jaw, and later spent two months in solitary confinement where he was subjected to physical, psychological and sexual torture. A full testimony from Mr. Al-Khawaja regarding his torture can be found here.]

BAHRAIN: Third Anniversary of Arrest: Calls for the Release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja – FIDH.

The EU should toughen its stand on Bahrain on 30 June say 6 big NGOs

June 27, 2013

A JOINT STATEMENT by the following 6 international NGOs: Front Line Defenders, Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) urge the EU to call for the release of human rights defenders and peaceful protest leaders in Read the rest of this entry »

Another prominent Bahraini Human Rights Defender, Naji Fateel, arrested

May 3, 2013


Naji Fateel
Bahrain’s crackdown on human rights defenders continued today with the arrest of another prominent figure, Naji Fateel. The arrest is the latest in a string of recent events calling into question the Kingdom’s claims of reform and progress.  On 2 May 2013 at dawn, police arrested human rights defender Naji Fateel at his home in the village in north-west Bahrain. He is being held without formal charges at a location which is still unknown. Naji Fateel is a board member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and a blogger who has been active in reporting human rights violations in Bahrain. The human rights defender gives daily speeches during marches in villages in which he discusses the importance of documenting violations and calls for people to form monitoring committees. Read the rest of this entry »

Bahrain: arbitrary arrest of Nabeel Rajab

May 8, 2012

On May 7, 2012, 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), reports and protests the arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and FIDH Deputy Secretary General. The Centre was announced only two weeks ago as one of the nominees of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (for a short film on their work see http://www.martinennalsaward.org)

On May 5, 2012, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was arrested by plain clothes police officers upon arrival at Manama airport from Lebanon and transferred to Al Hawra police station. The police officers who proceeded to the arrest stated that they were following orders by the Public Prosecutor, however neither Mr. Rajab nor his lawyers were then informed of the reasons for his arrest. 

Mr. Rajab had returned to Bahrain in order to attend a hearing for charges of “participating in an illegal assembly” and “calling others to join”, relating to a protest organised on March 31, 2012 in Manama to denounce the detention of human rights defender Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, former BCHR President and former MENA Director at Front Line.On May 6, Mr. Rajab was accordingly taken to court, where he denied the charges against him. The trial was postponed to May 22, 2012.

Later the same day, Mr. Rajab was presented before the Public Prosecutor, who informed him of the reasons for his arrest. According to Mr. Rajab’s lawyers, charges of “insulting the statutory bodies”, pursuant to Article 216 of the Penal Code, which carry an imprisonment for a term of up to three years and a fine, are pressed against him in relation to tweets he posted deemed “insulting” to the Ministry of Interior. Mr. Rajab replied that he was the author of tweets posted through his account and that he did not recognise the jurisdiction of the Court and the Prosecution due to their lack of independence from the Executive. The Public Prosecutor remanded Mr. Rajab to detention for seven days.

The Observatory firmly denounces the arbitrary detention as well as the judicial harassment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities. It recalls that according to international standards pre-trial detention should only be used where other measures of restraint are not possible.

The Observatory recalls that these events occur within the context of an intensified crackdown against activists, including human rights defenders, who have supported or are alleged to have supported the protest movement which started in Bahrain in February 2011.

Bahrain: Arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment … – FIDH.