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AFP: Media watchdog slams Bahrain charges against reporter

2016-07-21 - 5:06 p

Bahrain Mirror (AFP): Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has denounced Bahrain's prosecution of a journalist accused of working for foreign media without permission, describing the charge as politically motivated.

The watchdog also urged the Gulf kingdom to lift a travel ban on Nazeeha Saeed, Bahrain correspondent for the France 24 news channel and Paris-based Radio Monte-Carlo Doualiya.

Saeed was summoned to the prosecutor's office Sunday and charged with "working illegally for international media," two weeks after she was forbidden from travelling overseas, according to RSF.

The Paris-based watchdog said Saeed had tried to renew her authorization when it expired in March but was told a month ago that her application had been rejected.

"We call on the authorities to stop hounding this Bahraini journalist and to let her continue working in a fully legal manner," said RSF's Middle East chief Alexandra El-Khazen.

"We condemn the authorities' attempts to prevent her working, firstly by imposing an unjustified and incomprehensible travel ban on her and then by accusing her of working illegally although her papers were always in order," Khazen added.

Saeed has been in trouble with authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom in the past over her coverage of a crackdown on month-long protests in 2011 led by the Shiite majority.

In October 2012, a Bahraini court acquitted a female police officer accused by Saeed of torturing her while she was briefly in custody.

Saeed said at the time that she was badly beaten and humiliated by several policewomen after she was accused of lying in her reports. She was released after midnight, and days later the interior ministry announced proceedings against those accused of mistreating her.

Home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.




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