On 15 March, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 52 under item 3 during the Interactive debate with special rapporteur on the right of privacy. They expressed their concern over Bahrain’s violations of rights to privacy where authorities have targeted activists, opposition leaders, and human rights defenders using spyware to monitor their activities.
We welcome the report by the Special Rapporteur. We remain, however, concerned over Bahrain’s violations of rights to privacy where authorities have targeted activists, opposition leaders, and human rights defenders using spyware to monitor their activities, including communication with political prisoners.
The High Court in London issued a historic decision recently in which it rebuked Bahrain’s claims of state immunity and allowed a lawsuit to proceed, brought by Bahraini prominent activist Dr. Saeed Shehabi and photo journalist Moosa Mohammed who have been targeted by Bahrain’s spyware program. They have both been living in exile in the UK to avoid persecution for participating in the 2011 pro-democracy revolution. This ruling is a triumph over government intimidation.
Bahrain’s use of spyware to access private information is a violation of privacy and has caused psychiatric injury as indicated in the Shehabi-Moosa lawsuit. Bahrain’s history of systematically targeting activists and human rights defenders is cause for concern over privacy and security in the country.
We wish to ask the Rapporteur: What steps should be taken for the Bahraini government to be held accountable for violating the privacy of these two activists?!