Newsletter #141

Bahrain | Updates from the Ground | News & Opinion

Saudi Arabia | Other Gulf States | UN Complaint Program


Bahrain’s Miscarriage of Justice in Sentencing 57 Jau Prisoners

On Monday, 25 January 2016, Bahrain’s public prosecutor announced that a court had sentenced 57 men to additional 15-year jail terms for their alleged involvement in the Jau Prison riots last March. The prosecutor accused the men of having “unleashed acts of chaos, riots and rebellion inside (prison) buildings,” and officially charged them with a variety of offenses, including “damaging public property, attacking police, arson and resisting authorities.” Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), the European Center for Rights and Democracy (ECDHR), and Justice Human Rights Organization (JHRO) condemn the sentencing of the 57 persons as a miscarriage of justice, and call on the Government of Bahrain to hold accountable any person responsible for acts of collective punishment and human rights violations.

Read more…

More from ADHRB

Rebuild the Pearl Roundabout in Washington!

Updates from the Ground

  • Authorities arrested 29 individuals, including 3 children.
  • Criminal and appeals courts altered, upheld convictions, and sentenced 75 individuals to more than 1,030 years in prison.
  • The high criminal court postponed the trial of al-Wefaq member Majeed Milad to February 16. He is appealing a two-year sentence related to his exercise of free expression.
  • Courts postponed the trials of 16 individuals.
  • The lower criminal court postponed the trials of Ebrahim Karimi and Dr. Saeed al-Samaheeji to February 3rd and 4th, respectively. Both were accused of inciting legal disobedience and “insulting a neighboring country,” and both have denied all charges.
  • The lower criminal court released Jaleela al-Sayed Ameen and Ali al-Maqabi, who had been arrested and detained for insulting the King and “inciting violence” on social media. Their trial is ongoing.

Click here for the full report.

News and Opinion

Human Rights Watch: Allegations of Torture Expose Bahrain’s Sham Reforms
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its World Report, an annual review of human rights around the globe. In the report, HRW alleges that “credible and consistent allegations of torture and mistreatment of detainees in Bahrain during 2015 undermined claims of reform.” It describes a “range of torture methods, including electric shock, prolonged suspension in painful positions, severe beatings, threats to rape and kill, forced standing, exposure to extreme cold, and sexual abuse.” However, the Bahraini government, supported by the U.S. and the U.K, has insisted that the new institutions it established have “effectively protected detainees from abuse during interrogation.” Read More

“Witness Bahrain” Screening Documents Life in Bahrain after the Arab Spring
Film-maker Jen Marlowe’s documentary “Witness Bahrain” is screening on Sunday 6 February in Ridgefield, CT. “Witness Bahrain” is an award-winning documentary that provides viewers a look into Bahrain during, and shortly after, the Arab Spring. While Marlowe was in Bahrain making the film, she uncovered stories of doctors arrested and tortured by Bahraini authorities for treating wounded protesters, and of nurses who cared for injured youths in underground clinics. She learned about children who were arrested or killed by riot police. Marlowe filmed while hiding in the home of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab as police came to take him to prison for tweeting. Though she filmed in secret, she was ultimately deported. Read More

Bahrain: The Missed Valentine
A group of NGOs is co-hosting a photo gallery with the Middle East and North Africa Observatory for Strategic Studies at the University Of Montreal (MENA), entitled “Bahrain: the missed Valentine.” The event will be held on February 15th, 16th, and 17th at the University Of Montreal to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Bahraini pro-democracy uprising of 2011. 62 photographs will be on display documenting the chronology of the peaceful uprising of the Bahraini people around the Pearl Roundabout monument demanding their legitimate rights to self-determination and freedom. Read More

Arabic Sources

Detainees Sentenced to Death Prevented from Medical Care

Please click here for a PDF of this article in English.

Saudi Arabia

“It Is Our Right”: Saudi Women on the Positives, Pitfalls of Municipal Elections

In “‘It Is Our Right’: Saudi Women Speak on the Positives, Pitfalls of Municipal Elections,” Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) reviews December’s elections in Saudi Arabia through the eyes of a group of politically-active Saudi women. Excerpting from in-depth interviews conducted in the month before the elections, the briefing paper explores the opinions and experiences of four individuals — speaking under the pseudonyms Rana, Zeina, Norah, and Aisha — on how women’s first-time participation as voters and candidates would affect their status within society and contribute to Saudi Arabia’s democratic development as a whole.

Read more…

News and Opinion

Civilians Killed in Saudi-led Air Strike, 3 Children Dead
CNN reported that the Saudi-led coalition bombed the residence of Judge Yahya Rubaid on 25 January 2016. The Saudi-led coalition air strike killed seven individuals in total, including Judge Rubaid, his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, and three of his grandchildren. Read More

Nazaha Can’t Monitor Judges
The Supreme Judicial Council has rejected a proposal for the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) to monitor judges in corruption cases because it believes this would threaten the independence of the judiciary. Sheikh Salman al-Nashwan, the council’s spokesman, said Nazaha would only be allowed to receive copies of rulings made by judges in these cases, and could follow up under the direction of a special judicial committee, according to a press report on Wednesday. Al-Nashwan said the refusal was not an attempt to prevent Nazaha from doing its work, but was only a concern raised about the independence of the judiciary. The council was the only body empowered to monitor judges, he said.  Read More

Senator Wonders How Much Longer U.S. Will Blindly Support Saudi Arabia
The U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia has weathered disagreements over how to rein in Iran, regime change across the Middle East, and several large military adventures. Now it faces a new question, which was crystallized Friday in a speech by influential progressive Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn). “No one has a particularly credible long term strategy [for the Middle East] because it would involve facing some very uncomfortable truths — about the nature of the fight ahead of us, and imperfections of one of our most important allies in the Middle East,” Murphy said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Read More

Other Gulf States

A Week of Censorship for Kuwait

Kuwait’s parliament passed two new laws increasing the government’s power to censor online media and restrict free expression. On 11 January 2016, lawmakers prescribed a jail term of up to ten years for any online “criticism of the government, religious figureheads or foreign leaders.” The next day, the parliament passed an additional law regulating “professional” media, which it defines as “all forms of internet-based news services, bulletins, publications, newspapers and television stations’ websites.” The new legislation requires all web-based publications to possess a government license, without which publishers could face jail time.

Read more…

News and Opinion

U.A.E. Continues to Disappear Opposition Activists
NGOs have voiced renewed concern about the UAE’s treatment of political opposition and other activists, including the enforced disappearance of political exiles like Abdulrahman bin Subaih. Bin Subaih fled to Indonesia after Emirati security forces began to arrest the signatories of a petition calling for an independent judiciary and elections in the UAE. He was seeking political asylum when Indonesian authorities, in cooperation with the Emirati government, detained him and deported him back to his home country. Bin Subaih has since disappeared.  News reports indicate that bin Subaih “has had no access to his family and hasn’t been brought before the courts.” Like Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, who has been disappeared since August 2015, bin Subaih’s exact whereabouts are unknown. Read More

United Arab Emirates: Four Libyan Men in Court after Long Delay
Four Libyan men who were arrested between August 2014 and March 2015 appeared for the first time before the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi on 18 January 2016. They have been charged with providing support to “terrorist” groups. Some were tortured. The fate of three others is unknown. Read More

Saudi-led Coalition Says Will Work to Reduce Yemen Civilian Deaths
In a statement posted to Saudi Arabia’s mission to the United Nations’ Twitter page, the government stated that it “greatly regrets civilian casualties in Yemen, and that it is improving targeting mechanisms with Western help.” However, the Saudi government reported that it would not end the bombing campaign, despite the conflict leaving more than 8,000 civilians dead according to the UN.  Read More

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.

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