Index on Censorship: Bahrain Continues to Use Arbitrary Detention to Silence Dissidents

2016-06-03 - 10:38 p

Bahrain Mirror: Index on Censorship, an international organization concerned with freedom of expression, said that 2015 saw a year-on-year increase of "the systemic use of arbitrary detention of those who speak out against the Bahraini regime," calling on "the Bahraini authorities to end arbitrary arrests and immediately release all prisoners of conscience."

In a statement issued on Friday (June 3, 2016), it further noted that the Bahraini authorities this week released opposition activist Zainab Al-Khawaja, who had been imprisoned with her infant son since March. She had been convicted of insulting the Bahraini king after she ripped up a picture of him.

"Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, father of Zainab, is one of over 3,500 prisoners of conscience who remain in Bahrain's jails. According to research by World Prison Brief, Bahrain has the highest number of prisoners per capita in the Middle East, with 301 people in jail per 100,000 people of its 1.3 million population," the group added.

"Arbitrary detention is the imprisonment of a person without proper evidence that they committed a crime or a case in which there has been no proper due process. Last year, the Liberties and Human Rights Department (LHRD) of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society recorded a total of 1,765 arrests by security services for reasons related to the opposition political movement, including the arrests of 120 children and five women," it stressed.

Index further stated that "the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a UN body consisting of five experts, has repeatedly concluded that Bahrain has violated several international standards of a fair trial. In September of last year, the group found the detention of the secretary general of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Sheikh Ali Al-Salman arbitrary ," indicating to the 9-jer jail term that was recently issued against him."

Last year's arbitrary arrests in Bahrain included prominent figures like Nabeel Rajrab, Mohammed Mahdi Alekri, a member of Al-Wefaq's advisory board  and Sayed Sa'eed Isa, a member of The Martyrs Associate ( father to Sayed Hashim Saeed).

"The Bahraini authorities have continued to use arbitrary detention to silence political opponents and opposition supporters," said Index on Censorship concluding its statement.

Arabic Version

المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
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