Gulf Center for Human Rights: Bahrain Seeks Isolation of HR Defenders from Int’l Community
2016-07-23 - 2:17 am
Bahrain Mirror: The Gulf Center for Human Rights said that "retaliations against human rights defenders continue unabated in Bahrain".
"We believe that this trend has intensified recently, to target all individuals who have any relationship with the international community, in a very serious development that aims to isolate the human rights movement in Bahrain from any cooperation with the international community," stressed the center in a statement dated Thursday (July 21, 2016).
"A ban was imposed on three human rights defenders from leaving the country on July 8, 2016", the statement added, referring to "how human rights lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer was prevented from traveling to Saudi Arabia".
In same context, the Gulf Center further noted in its statement that "when al-Tajer asked for the reason behind this from the Passports and Immigration Department, they did not provide any official confirmation or justification for the ban".
"Sharaf al-Moussawi, head of the Bahrain Transparency Society, was banned from traveling to Saudi Arabia on the same day, in addition to Zeinab Khamis, member of the Bahraini Human Rights Observatory; she was also prevented from going to Kuwait", highlighted the statement.
"The authorities also banned journalist Nazeeha Saeed from traveling at the Bahrain International Airport on June 29, 2016 (...) And on July 17, 2016, Saeed was summoned to the Public Prosecution where the Media Affairs Authority of Bahrain allegedly charged her with practicing journalism without a license".
The center went on to say that "on June 18, 2016, human rights defender and writer Abdul Nabi Ekri was banned to travel to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates from Bahrain International Airport. Eight people were banned from attending the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, including Hussein Radi of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights".
The Gulf Centre also revealed that "24 human right defenders at least, and other members of civil society, were banned from traveling in the past two months".
"On June 13, Jalila al-Salman, dismissed vice president of the Bahrain Teachers Association, and member of the Bahraini Human Rights Observatory, was banned from traveling to Oslo to receive the Stevenson Arthur Award for 2015, in recognition of her union activity and commitment to human rights issues", noted the statement.
Also, the Gulf Center mentioned in its statement that "Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) also faces a travel ban imposed on him since 2014, simultaneously with many cases that he had been imprisoned for over and over".
"He [Rajab] is currently held in poor conditions in prison, waiting for the next session of his trial on August 2, 2016, in connection to Tweets about human rights published on his personal Twitter account," the statement clarified.
"[Rajab] was refused to be released on bail despite suffering from numerous health conditions, and there is grave concern over his health, and he has been in prison since his arrest on June 13, on charges related to freedom of expression. In addition, the authorities refused to release Rajab to attend funeral his uncle on July 13, 2016, who died the previous day," it added.
The Gulf Center for Human Rights further condemned "the systematic and repeated attempts by the Bahraini government to target human rights defenders and other activists who cooperate with international mechanisms and in particular the United Nations system".
The Center reiterated in its statement its call for the authorities in Bahrain to "respect the right to the guaranteed freedom of movement by the Bahraini constitution, and allow human rights defenders from traveling freely". Also, to "allow all prisoners to make phone calls with their families" and "immediately release all human rights defenders, including Nabeel Rajab and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, and ensure their protection from retaliation", the statement concluded.
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