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RSF Condemns Journalist Faisal Hayyat’s Detention, Calls for his Immediate Release

2016-10-14 - 7:18 p

Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned Bahraini journalist and blogger Faisal Hayyat's detention on the alleged grounds that he insulted religion in a tweet.

"We condemn Faisal Hayyat's arbitrary detention, which reflects the Bahraini regime's determination to silence all critics, and we urge the authorities to free him immediately and unconditionally along with all the other journalists being held unjustly," said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk.

The organization indicated that Hayyat's arrest could be a direct reaction to "an open letter he posted on Facebook on 1 October criticizing the interior minister's comments about religious faith and his department's supposed respect for human rights in a speech that the minister gave on 29 September." Hayyat denounced the mistreatment he received while detained for nearly three months in 2011.

The journalist was arrested under article 309 of the criminal code, under which anyone defaming a recognized religious sect or ridiculing its rituals faces the possibility of a one-year prison sentence or a fine.

Hayyat, who was arrested after interrogation by the Criminal Investigation Directorate on 9 October, has presented a weekly satirical broadcast about politics, business and social issues on his YouTube channel (Sha7wal) since 2013, and has tens of thousands of subscribers.

It is to mention that Bahrain is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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