On 4 September 2018, after nine days of detention and hunger strike, Mohamed Khatim was released from government custody at Salmaniya hospital. Authorities transferred him to the hospital from Dry Dock Detention Center due to his deteriorating health. However, police temporarily rearrested Khatim today after he continued to peacefully protest outside Bahrain’s Council of Ministers. Khatim was again released, but this time on the condition that he cease protesting.
Khatim’s case is yet another example of how the Government of Bahrain punishes citizens seeking redress and reform. Authorities arrested Khatim on 27 August 2018 as he peacefully protested in front of the Ministry of Justice requesting that he be allowed to find employment following arbitrary dismissal from work. For this, the Public Prosecution accused him of “inciting hatred against the regime,” and subsequently sent him to pre-trial detention in Bahrain’s Dry Dock Detention Center for one week. He launched a hunger strike during his detention in protest of the continued abuse before he was released on 4 September.
Khatim is a former political prisoner who was dismissed from employment with Bahrain’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs after his original release from custody in 2013. He has not been able to find work in the five years since, as many former detainees face discrimination in Bahrain. The government has also denied him access to funds from his bank account, making it extremely difficult for him to provide for his family.
As the situation has grown more urgent, he took to social media to voice concern and call for the government to restore his ability to work this past July. Authorities promptly arrested him on spurious charges of rioting, ultimately holding him at Bahrain’s infamous Jau Prison because he was unable to repay his loans. After his release from this period of detention, Khatim launched his protest outside the Ministry of Justice.
Though Khatim was quickly released after today’s most recent arrest, his freedom came arbitrary with stipulations that he stop protesting in exchange for government inquiry into his case. There are as yet no additional details on exactly what government agency will look Khatim’s demands. While the authorities may finally prepare to address the situation, Mohamed Khatim and his family remain in in limbo.
Joshua Meyers is an Advocacy intern at ADHRB.