Posts Tagged ‘Bahrain Centre for Human Rights’

Video statement of ‘troublemaker’ Nabeel Rajab who is on trial today

January 20, 2015

Today, 20 January, a verdict is expected in the trial of Nabeel Rajab, an internationally recognized human rights defender in Bahrain. President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and a member of Human Rights Watch’s Advisory Board, Rajab is charged with insulting public institutions via Twitter. A huge number of NGOs (see below) strongly condemn the politically motivated prosecution of Nabeel Rajab and call on the Government of Bahrain to drop all charges against the peaceful human rights defender. The video statement was prepared by True Heroes Films (THF).

On 1 October 2014, Rajab was arrested after hours of interrogation regarding one of his tweets. Rajab had just returned to Bahrain from a months-long advocacy tour, which included appearances at the 27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as meetings with foreign ministries throughout Europe. Charged with insulting public institutions under article 216 of Bahrain’s penal code, Rajab was granted bail on 2 November 2014, but was banned from leaving the country.

[Rajab is one of many Bahrainis who have been victimized by the government’s intensified campaign to silence dissent: On 28 December, Sheikh Ali Salman, General-Secretary of Bahrain’s largest opposition party Al-Wefaq, was arrested for his political and human rights activism. Earlier in December, human rights defender Zainab al-Khawaja was sentenced to four years in prison for insulting the king and ripping up his picture, while her sister Maryam al-Khawaja, Director of Advocacy of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, was sentenced to one year in prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer during her arrest in August 2014. – https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/bahrain-travails-of-a-family-of-human-rights-defenders/

Signatories:

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
Association for Civil Rights
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Bytes for All
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility 
Centre for Independent Journalism – Malaysia
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Freedom Forum
Freedom House
Globe International Center
Independent Journalism Center – Moldova
International Press Institute 
Maharat Foundation
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Media Watch
National Union of Somali Journalists
Pakistan Press Foundation
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms – MADA
PEN American Center
PEN International
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters – AMARC
Activists Organisation For Development And Human Rights
American for Democracy and Human rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Africa Freedom Of Information Centre
Albadeel Center For Studies And Research
Alliance For Tunisia’s Women
Aman Network For Rehabilitation & Defending Human Rights
Bahrain 19
Bahrain Press Association
Bahrain Salam For Human Rights
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR)
Chokri Belaid Foundation To Combat Violence
European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR)
European Saudi Organisation For Human Rights
Gulf Center For Human Rights (GCHR)
Initiative For Freedom Of Expression – Turkey
International Centre For Supporting Rights And Freedom
Jordanian Commission For Culture And Democracy
Khiam Rehabilitation Center For Victims Of Torture
Kuwait Human Right Institute
Kuwait Human Right Society
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)
MENA Monitoring Group
Nidal Tagheer Organisation For Defending Rights (Yemen)
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ – Italy)
Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational And Transparty (NRPTT – Italy)
Réseau Avocats Sans Frontières
Shia Right Watch
Sudanese Development Imitative
Syrian Nonviolence Movement
Tunisian Association For The Rehabilitation Of Prisoners
Tunisian Centre For Transitional Justice
Tunisian National Council For Liberties
UN Ponte Per (Italy) 

One of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defenders, Nabeel Rajab, released today

May 24, 2014

Nabeel Rajab, Final Nominee MEA 2012

Nabeel Rajab, Final Nominee MEA 2012

According to AhlulBayt News Agency prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab has been released in Bahrain today, 24 May 2014.  The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) welcome back their – respectively – President of the BCHR and General Secretary of the GCHR, free after a detention that lasted approximately two years. The two organisations warn that thousands of others continue to be imprisoned including BCHR and GCHR founder Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel. It is to be noted that Nabeel Rajab is being released because he served the full length of his arbitrary detention sentence.

Nabeel Rajab was initially sentenced on 16 August 2012, to three years in prison for advocating peaceful demonstrations to defend the civil and human rights of all the citizens in the country. On 11 December 2012, the Court of Appeal reduced the sentences to two years in prison. During his detention, he faced dire conditions and was subjected to ill-treatment and torture. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found that Nabeel’s detention was arbitrary as it resulted from the exercise of his universally recognized human rights. Despite this decision by the WGAD, all requests submitted to the authorities for an early release were summarily rejected.

Bahrain prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to be released after two years – AhlulBayt News Agency – ABNA – Shia News.

For the older posts that tell the story more in detail see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/nabeel-rajab/

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.

Bahrain Court Sentences 50 Shia Muslims to Total 430 Years Imprisonment

September 30, 2013

The Ahlul Bayt News Agency reports today that a court in Bahrain sentenced today political detainees, including activists and human rights defenders, to total of more than 400 years’ imprisonment and upheld the sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment against two children. All of the sentences were delivered under the internationally criticized and vague terrorism law. The court also reduced the sentences of two police officers who tortured a detainee to death from 10 years’, to 2 years’ imprisonment. On  29 of September 2013, the court held the ruling session in the case known as “February 14th Coalition”, in which 50 individuals were tried under the terrorism law, including human rights defender Naji Fateel, political activist Hisham Al-Sabbag and activist Rihanna Al-Mosawi. In first session when defendants spoke about the torture they were subjected to, but were ignored by the court. On the 5th of September, the legal defense team submitted a letter requesting a change of court due to the conflict of interest, and requested a medical committee to investigate the torture allegations from the defendants. The defense team then withdrew from the session based on Article 211 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Bahrain, which stated that the defense team can refuse the judges ruling in the cases mentioned in the previous article and in other cases which are prescribed by the law. Moreover, the defendants issued a statement boycotting the trial stating that the lack of an independent judiciary as one of the reasons. On the 29 September 2013, the court continued the trial and sentenced the 50 defendants in the case to a total of 430 years in prison: 16 defendants were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment including Naji Fateel and political activist Hisham Al-Sabbag, 4 were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 30 to 5 years. The BCHRs Acting President Maryam Al-Khawaja stated: “There was no due process in the entirety of this case which is why the defendants and their lawyers decided to boycott. From the time that the defendants were abducted, tortured and then sentences, nothing was done according to international standards of a fair trial. If these fifty people were really guilty of a crime, why was the only evidence presented confessions extracted under torture? This was a sham trial with a political verdict, they should be released immediately”.

via Bahrain Court Sentences 50 Shia Muslims to Total 430 Years Imprisonment / Names.

 

Today Rafto announces that its Award goes to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

September 26, 2013

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, whose founder and director are both jailed, wins Norway’s Rafto Prize for rights defenders. The award hopes to “turn the spotlight on systematic violations of human rights in a region where abuse is too often met with silence from Western governments,” the Rafto Foundation said in a statement on 26 September.  The founder of the centre, Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, is serving a life sentence in jail after he and several other leading opposition figures were convicted of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. They were arrested in April 2011, in the wake of the Sunni-monarchy’s crackdown on a month of Shiite-led protests that demanded political reforms. Meanwhile the centre’s director, Nabeel Rajab, has been in jail for more than 14 months, serving a three-year jail term for taking part in unauthorised protests. The prize jury commended the rights group for its non-violent protests and documentation of human rights violations, despite government attempts to shut it down. The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was, inter alia, also one the Final Nominees for the MEA of 2012 and received the Baldwin Medal

The annual Rafto award was founded in 1986 in memory of Norwegian economic history professor Thorolf Rafto, a longtime human rights activist. The 15,000 Euro prize will be presented on November 3 in Bergen.

via Bahrain rights group wins Norwegian award | GlobalPost.

 

Arab human rights court in Bahrain? – a take by the Voice of Russia.

September 6, 2013

бахрейн протест бахрейн столкновения

( Photo: EPA)

The piece below, taken from the Voice of Russia of 6 September 2013, is interesting for a number of reasons:

1. it addresses the almost comical issue of basing the Arab Court of Human Rights in Bahrain

2. it quotes at length the (understandably) sarcastic comments by Brian Dooley of Human Rights First in the Huffington Post

3. it is lovely example of a different but biased geopolitical perspective: Read the rest of this entry »

NGOs jointly call on world to focus on Bahrain on 14 August

August 13, 2013

13 NGOs have signed an open letter concerning the situation in Bahrain in the light of the upcoming mass demonstration on 14 August. As it is short and to the point here is the full text copied from the FIDH website:  Read the rest of this entry »

Bahrain HRD Maryam al-Khawaja banned by British Airways from flight

August 10, 2013

Maryam al-Khawaja

Maryam al-Khawaja  (c) IBT
The International Business Times of 9 August reports that Maryam al-Khawaja, acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) has been prevented from boarding a British Airways flight from Copenhagen to Bahrain because of a ban issued by the government Bahrain. Why did the UK airline agreed to the ban without giving any motive for the blocking order or any advance notice?. “I had the flight this morning from Copenhagen and everything was fine. I did the online check-in yesterday,” she told IBTimes UK. “I was blocked at the boarding and told to check with the counter because there was a problem. The lady called the office in London who told her that there was a denied boarding message as a decision from Bahrain government”. Al-Khawaja holds dual Bahraini-Danish citizenship but has not renewed her Bahraini passport .  Her father Abdulhadi and sister Zainab are in jail for their role in pro-democracy protests.

 

Bahrain and human rights: contrasting views

May 23, 2013

Bahrain‘s Human Rights Minister during a visit to Morocco on 22 May stated: “Bahrain Has Presented Itself as a Model in Implementing BICI’s Recommendations

He said that despite the regretful incidents that happened in 2011, the kingdom of Bahrain has presented itself as a model in its wise dealing with those events, highlighting Bahrain’s bold steps in this regard, including the establishment of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), led by international eminent judges, the acceptance of the recommendations featuring in BICI’s final report and the political leadership’s commitment to implementing them, out of its belief in the importance of protecting human rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking News: Finally an acquittal in Bahrain – Said Yousif Al-Muhafda twitted legally

March 12, 2013

In a case that was followed closely in this blog, a Bahraini human rights defender accused of sending out twitters with ‘false information’, there is finally some good news: a Bahraini court has acquitted Said Yousif Al-Muhafdah of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR – 2012 Final Nominee of the MEA). “It’s a great relief that Said Yousif was acquitted today, bringing an end to three months of judicial harassment.  Let’s hope this means the courts are beginning to show a better understanding of what freedom of expression means,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. Al-Muhafdah was arrested in December 2012 for “spreading false information on Twitter.”HRF logo

His case is one in a string cases stemming from the Kingdom’s ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defenders. It followed last year’s jailing of Nabeel Rajab, President of the BCHR, and of human rights activist Zainab Al Khawaja in February 2013. “This is a small victory, but unfortunately there are many other cases of judicial harassment that continue to wind their way through Bahrain’s judicial system,” Brian Dooley noted.  On March 21, the appeal of 23 medics, each sentenced to three months in prison after treating injured protestors in 2011, will continue. A verdict is expected at a date soon after. Dooley, who has authored four reports about the ongoing crackdown in Bahrain, has been forbidden access to the nation for more than a year. “This is not how a nation that wants to trumpet its human rights record treats monitors” Dooley added.

via Acquittal in Bahrain Twitter Case Comes as Dooley Denied Access Again | Human Rights First.