RSF Says Upholding Ten-Year Jail Term against Photographer Ahmad Al-Musawi Is Outrageous
2016-06-17 - 9:23 p
Bahrain Mirror: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplored, in a statement issued on Thursday (June 16, 2016), a Bahrain appeal court's decision to uphold freelance press photographer Sayed Ahmed Al Mousawi's ten-year jail sentence and the arrests of two bloggers in the past ten days without any warrant or official explanation.
The sentences of Mousawi and 11 co-defendants were confirmed on 13 June. The winner of more than 100 international awards, Mousawi was arrested in February 2014 and was convicted in November 2015 of "distributing SIM cards" to persons supposedly implicated in terrorist actions. His crime was photographing anti-government demonstrations.
Ali Al Maaraj, a blogger who was released from prison on 5 April, was arrested again without a warrant at Manama airport on 5 June, while Nabeel Rajab, a blogger who heads the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested without a warrant at his home on 13 June.
"We condemn the judicial harassment of journalists and bloggers and the unjust prosecutions and sentences to which they are subjected just because they criticize the government," said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk.
"It is outrageous and unacceptable to accuse a journalist of terrorism just because he took photos in order to cover a demonstration. We call on the authorities to explain the grounds for the latest arrests and to release all those who are being held just for doing their jobs as journalists," she added.
The Bahraini authorities have been cracking down harder on journalists and other information providers of late. The Culture and Antiquities Agency forcibly disbanded the Bahrain Photographic Society on 25 April on the grounds that its members were involved in activities "contrary to the law and public order."
The Kingdom of Bahrain is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index.
Tags: Reporters without Borders, Sayed Ahmad Al-Musawi, Stripping of Nationality, Photographers
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