CPJ: Bahraini Journalists Harassed, Banned from Travel a Week Ahead of UPR Session
2017-05-04 - 12:01 am
Bahrain Mirror: Bahraini prosecutors and security officials should cease harassing journalists and should lift travel bans imposed on two reporters in the past week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement issued Monday (May 1, 2017).
On this level, the CPJ noted that "Bahraini public prosecution prosecutors summoned three journalists, Faisal Hayyat, a video blogger; Jaafar al-Jamri, a writer at the beleaguered Al-Wasat newspaper; and freelance journalist Ahmed Radhi, for questioning, in the week before the U.N. Human Rights Commission conducted its Universal Periodic Review on the kingdom's human rights record."
Moreover, the CPJ said that "during Bahrain's last Universal Periodic Review in 2012, the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) criticized the kingdom's record on press freedom."
CPJ got its information from the Journalist Support Committee (JSC), a Bahraini press freedom group, and an emailed statement from Bahraini rights activist Nazeeha Saeed, which confirmed that both Hayyat and Radhi are banned from traveling.
"If Bahrain is serious about its commitments to free expression and press freedom, it will immediately lift the travel bans on journalists Fasial Hayyat and Ahmed Radhi and cease harassing the press," CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said from Washington, D.C.
At least seven journalists, including Hayyat, were in prison for their work on December 1, 2016, when CPJ last conducted its annual global prison census. The US-based watchdog stated that "recently, on March 21, police detained former Agence France-Presse photographer Mohammed al-Shaikh for 24 hours upon his return from a holiday in India."
Based on Radhi's statement to the CPJ, he was accused of participating in the Diraz protest on October 6, 2016, alongside 800 other people. The CPJ noted in its statement, "Diraz is the site of an ongoing sit-in protest and is also the home of influential Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim."
Bahraini authorities held Radhi in pretrial detention for months in 2012 on terrorism charges following remarks he made on social media criticizing a proposal to unify Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, CPJ reported at the time. The CPJ also said Al-Jamri was questioned over a series of tweets he published, without elaborating.
The US-based watchdog also reported that Hayyat was jailed from October 9, 2016 to January 7, 2017, for his activity on social media, and in 2011 on suspicion that he participated in mass, anti government protests in April of that year.
Hayyat and Radhi denied having attended protests in Diraz. Both have been jailed for their writing before, CPJ further noted.
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