US Secretary of State John Kerry’s First Visit to Bahrain
Last week, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) urged Secretary Kerry to address the sources of internal instability in Bahrain prior to his visit to Manama on 6 April, 2016. ADHRB called on Secretary Kerry to use his first visit to Manama to assert in person what the State Department has supported in the past: the institution of greater human rights protections, the implementation of democratic reforms, and the release of all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.
Updates from the Ground
- Authorities arrested 10 individuals, including 2 children.
- Criminal and appeals courts altered, upheld convictions and sentenced 2 individuals to 1 year and 3 months in prison.
- Courts postponed the trials of 17 individuals.
- According to eye witnesses, Ministry of Interior (MOI) forces ran into Ali Abdulghani with a vehicle while attempting to arrest him. He was taken to the hospital and passed away four days later due to severe internal bleeding and a head injury. Since the announcement of Abdulghani’s death, Bahraini forces have yet to provide further details on the on the incident.
- The high administrative court postponed the hearing of 8 individuals who are appealing the decision of their citizenship revocation. Bahraini courts denaturalized these individuals in 2012 through an administrative decision, and they have been stateless ever since.
- The low criminal court sentenced Dr. Saeed al-Samaheeji to 1 year in prisonfor insulting a neighboring country, inciting the public to disobey laws and regulations, and calling for participation in unpermitted protests. Forces arrested Dr. Saeed after he posted tweets critical of the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
- A viral video on social media shows Bahraini security forces throwing stun grenades and tear gas in a house then closing the doors. Bahraini authorities announced they are investigating the incident. Outcome of the investigation is unknown.
- Bahrain’s MOI stated that it has arrested an individual for collecting funds through social media to produce a movie deemed insulting of religious figures.
Saudi Arabia & Other Gulf States
Qatar: Combating Terror or Abusing Human Rights?
On April 4, during a meeting in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani said that their approach of combating terrorism should be holistic by “defeating the act of terror and addressing the roots of the terrorism politically, socially, and economically.” However, the laws adopted by the Qatari government in an attempt to combat terrorism and protect the community have been misused to target and imprison individuals with critical views of the government and its policies.
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.