Front Line Defenders Urges Bahrain to Cease its Campaign against HR Defenders
2017-04-28 - 9:46 p
Bahrain Mirror: Front Line Defenders condemned this recent wave "of harassment against human rights defenders in Bahrain" considering it to "be solely motivated by their peaceful and legitimate activities in the defence of human rights". It urged the authorities "to cease all forms of harassment against all human rights defenders in Bahrain" and "immediately and unconditionally remove the travel bans imposed against human rights defenders facing travel restrictions."
The organization said in a statement on (April 27, 2017) that "From 24 to 25 April 2017, twenty-two human rights defenders in Bahrain were interrogated by the Bahraini authorities. All defenders received police summonses on 21 April 2017 to appear before the office of the General Prosecutor. Most of the human rights defenders who were summoned for interrogation received confirmation that the Public Prosecutor has issued travel bans against them," adding that "the interrogations, which lasted on average 3 to 7 minutes, were in relation to allegations that the human rights defenders had attended an illegal gathering in Diraz village sometime between 2016 and 2017."
It explained "On 24 April, Ebtisam Al-Saegh was also interrogated for three minutes after waiting for a couple of hours at the office of the Public Prosecutor. A Police force made up of six vehicles came to her home on 21 April and delivered a summons for interrogation at the Public Prosecutor's office. The human rights defender then inquired with the Bahraini Immigration and Visas Office about her ability to travel and was informed that she faced a travel ban by order of the Public Prosecutor."
"Among the other human rights defenders who were interrogated, and informed that they are banned from travel, are Abdulnabi Al-Ekri, Mohammad Al-Tajer, Enas Oun, Rula Al-Saffar, Jalila Al-Salman, Zainab Al-Khamis, and Ahmed Al-Saffar. All 22 human rights defenders were accused of participating in illegal gatherings between October 2016 and January 2017 in the village of Diraz. All denied the charges and several noted that it would be impossible for them to even enter Diraz as it is blocked by checkpoints manned by security forces," the organization went on to say.
Front Line Defenders further stated that "The human rights defenders seem to believe that the summonses and interrogations were used to justify the travel bans ahead of the upcoming UPR session in Geneva, Switzerland, in an attempt to deter their legitimate and peaceful work to protect and promote human rights in Bahrain and participate in international human rights mechanisms as is their right."
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