Four Bahrainis Arbitrarily Detained, Says UN Body
18 March 2016 – Geneva, Switzerland – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared four Bahrainis to be arbitrarily detained, stating that their detention is impossible to legally justify and violates international law. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes the decision of the Working Group, and calls on the Government of Bahrain to release not only the four victims but also all other persons arbitrarily detained in the country.
Updates from the Ground
- Authorities arrested 22 individuals, including 1 child and 1 woman.
- Criminal and appeals courts altered, upheld convictions, and sentenced 24 individuals to 240 years in prison.
- Courts postponed the trials of 30 individuals.
- Bahraini authorities raided the house of human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja and arrested her with her 15-month-old son. Zainab and her son’s health is at risk. The cell they’re in is filthy, and there are women who have Hepatitis C in the section of the prison where they’re kept.
- Human rights defender Sheikh Maytham al-Salman was summoned for interrogation over a speech he delivered in February 2016. The authorities transferred his case to the public prosecution for further interrogation after charging him with “insulting and offending religious figures.”
- Ali Isfandiyari was arrested and forced to leave Bahrain after the court upheld his deportation order. This takes the number of deported citizens to 5 individuals.
- The Bahraini judiciary acquitted 2 policemen of charges of physical abuse of detained citizens.
- The criminal court postponed the trial of al-Wefaq’s Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman to 11 April 2016. Sheikh Ali was charged with incitement against the government in a speech.
Saudi Arabia & Other Gulf States
Mohammed al-Ajami Pardoned by Qatari Emir
16 March 2016 – Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes the announcement that Qatar’s emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has issued a royal pardon for imprisoned poet Mohammed al-Ajami. The detention of Mr. al-Ajami on charges related solely to the contents of his poetry was a glaring example of Qatar’s failure to meet its international obligations to respect human rights; his release, conversely, represents a significant step toward the free and open development of Qatari civil society.
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.