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ADHRB Weekly Newsletter #177
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Bahrain

Journalist and Social Media Activist Arrested after Writing Critical Letter to Minister of Interior about Torture Suffered in 2011

10 October 2016 – Bahraini authorities arrested journalist and social media activist Faisal Hayyat yesterday after he was summoned over a tweet. The Public Prosecution today remanded Hayyat in custody for one week on charges of insulting a sect and a religious figure. The undersigned NGOs condemn Bahrain’s ongoing criminalization of freedom of expression and targeting of opposition activists. His case has been transferred to the Criminal Court.

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Updates from the Ground

 
  • Authorities arrested 20 individuals, including 1 child and 1 woman.
  • More than 36 protests were staged in 20 villages and towns across Bahrain. Security forces suppressed at least 4 protests using tear gas.
  • Criminal and appeals courts altered, upheld convictions and sentenced 15 individuals to 47 years in prison.
  • Courts postponed the trials of 143 individuals.
  • The High Criminal Court postponed the trial of Bahrain Center for Human Rights' (BCHR) President Nabeel Rajab to 31 October 2016. Rajab is being tried over charges related to remarks he posted on Twitter.
  • The Court of Appeal rejected Sheikh Ali Salman's defense team's request to halt the implementation of his nine-year prison sentence. On 17 October 2016, the court will rule on the appeal. The court used his speeches as evidence to convict him with attempting to overthrow the regime by force, inciting hatred against a sect, insulting the Ministry of Interior, and disobeying the law.
  • The Criminal Court sentenced three Shia clerics - Sheikh Fadhel al-Zaki, Sheikh Mohammed al-Shehabi, and Sayed Majeed al-Mesha'al - to one year in prison each. The same court postponed the trials of two other clerics. Numerous Shia clerics are on trial for participating in the Diraz sit-in in solidarity with Sheikh Isa Qassim.
  • The trial of social media activist Taiba Ismaeel was postponed to 19 October. Authorities charged her with insulting the king on Twitter.
  • Authorities forcibly deported Mahmood Khawari - a stateless individual with a Bahraini mother - from Bahrain. In 2013, Khawari was sentenced to one year in prison for participating in a protest. After serving his sentence, the Bahraini government arbitrarily detained Khawari in immigration prison for more than three years before deporting him.
  • Bahraini authorities continue to continue to target Shia populations by removing Ashura banners and posters. Authorities have also prevented clerics and religious leaders from participating in Ashura activities in Diraz.

Other GCC States

Saudi Arabia Continues to Target Shia Opposition Clerics

 
The Government of Saudi Arabia targets and prosecutes political and religious activists who speak out against the government. Among those it targets are dissident clerics from the kingdom’s restive Eastern Province Shia minority like Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. Sheikh Nimr was a forceful critic of the government. Due to his speeches, Saudi security forces harassed and ultimately arrested and executed him on 2 January 2016. Since his execution, the kingdom has continued to target dissident Shia clerics. It has increased its efforts since March 2016, arresting and prosecuting Sheikh Nimr’s associate Sheikh Mohammed Hassan al-Habib, raiding the headquarters of a Shia religious center, harassing the family of Shia clerics, and freezing Shia clerics’ bank accounts.

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Noteworthy News

 
 
Are you a victim of a human rights abuse in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or other GCC states?

Document your case with the Special Procedures of the United Nations through 
ADHRB's UN Complaint Program.
Copyright © 2016 ADHRB, All rights reserved.
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