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BCHR: Bahraini Authorities Retaliate against Female HR Defenders

2016-02-06 - 1:56 am

Bahrain Mirror: The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expressed its concerns over the Bahraini "authorities' retaliation against female human rights defenders through imprisoning them and judicially pursuing them to pressure them to stop their peaceful activism."

In a statement, BCHR highlighted that the court of appeals upheld a verdict sentencing human rights activist Zainab Al-Khawaja to 9 months in prison over charges of insulting police while attempting to enter Jaw Central Prison, adding that the prison terms against her reached 3 years and one month.

The center also stressed that Ghada Jamsheer, a women's right activist, was sentenced to 4 months in prison over insulting two government employees on Twitter, noting that her first one-year sentence was commuted.  Jamsheer has already served a 3-month jail term after being accused of insulting the administration of King Hamad Hospital on Twitter.

BCHR further stated that the authorities arrested activist Massouma Al-Sayed on February 3, 2016 at a checkpoint over a previous verdict sentencing her to 6 months in prison over illegal assembly. She was transferred to the Public Prosecution that decided to release Massouma on bail. However, Al-Sayed was surprised to learn that she will continue to be detained. She was told in the police station that she's wanted over different charges of assembly, rioting and terrorism.

BCHR saw that these sentences come within the crackdown campaign led by the authorities to put an end to the fruitful human rights activism, reflected by the increasing international criticism of the Bahraini authorities over ongoing human rights violations.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights also called for the immediate release of activist Massouma Al-Sayed, dismissal of sentences issued against Zainab Al-Khawaja and Ghada Jamsheer and putting an end to the campaign targeting activists and detainees.

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