Repression Climates in Bahrain: Summoning as a Vindictive Approach for Silencing Voices

The Bahraini government promotes its human rights record through formal steps taken from time to time. These efforts often aim to cover up its violations and present an incomplete picture of the human rights situation in the country. Since the start of the popular demand movement in 2011, there has been no real reform. However, what appears in public is only a small part of the larger, bleak human rights landscape painted by the ruling Al Khalifa family. In Bahrain, a climate of repression prevails. The basic rights of citizens to participate in public life and express their opinions are violated.

To tighten their grip on freedom of opinion, the ruling authorities take several measures. These include arbitrary arrests and unfair trials that may end in death, life imprisonment, or long-term imprisonment. Other violations include torture during the investigation period, revocation of citizenship, high financial fines, and deportation. Outside the prison bars, the scene is similarly repressive. There are endless cases of repression of peaceful gatherings, sit-ins, protests, and popular marches. Participants in events or movements of a demanding or human rights nature may be assaulted, arrested, summoned, and interrogated. More than that, participants may end up being arrested and framed with politically motivated charges.

Summoning is one of the procedures followed by the Bahraini government, especially in the last decade. Its frequency may increase and decrease, but it has become part of a systematic pattern of violations. This procedure is often used against citizens who adopt opinions contrary to the regime’s directions or who demand reform and offer criticism and advice. It has become a tool used by the government to target certain groups of citizens. The aim is to create a state of intimidation and threat, thereby stifling the space for freedom of expression.

I. Summoning as a violation with a legal facade

Legally, a summons is one of the measures taken by the security authorities, represented by the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) of the Ministry of Interior. The aim is to inform the defendant of the existence of a case against them.

However, in Bahrain, ADHRB has monitored that this procedure takes different forms, during which several violations are recorded against the victims of the summons. These may include:

  • Arbitrary arrest from the place of gathering, only to find out later that there is a summons against the victim.
  • Not informing the victim’s family directly about the summons.
  • Not informing the victim’s family of the reason for the summons.
  • Not informing the parents if the victim is a minor, and summoning them directly through their phone or through friends.
  • Enforced disappearance for hours or days after the summons.

The most notable violation recorded in this procedure is that the PPO hides behind a legal guise to exploit the summons. As a result, the following possibilities could occur:

  • Using the summons against the same individual repeatedly.
  • Extending the time of detention indefinitely.
  • The summoned individual’s lack of knowledge of the charges against them.
  • Deprivation of the right to be informed of the charges.
  • Not informing the family of the reason for the summons, even if the person summoned is a minor.
  • Deprivation of the individual’s right to hire a lawyer.
  • Conducting investigations without the presence of a lawyer, even if the defendant is a minor.

This means that the PPO has the right to summon anyone from anywhere and take them to a detention center. There, they will be arrested, interrogated, and detained for an unknown period of time. An individual’s freedom can be confiscated at any time and for any reason. Furthermore, this freedom can be confiscated for an indefinite period of time.

II. Summons as a vindictive approach

Through the summons measure, the Bahraini government seeks to create a climate of fear among citizens. Self-censorship becomes a standard practice to avoid falling into the grip of the security authorities and facing the consequences of this measure. These consequences often take on a vindictive nature. Not least among these is the summoned individual’s complete ignorance of their fate after attending the summons. Additionally, they may be exposed to abuse and mistreatment during the investigation.

The reasons for summonses and arrests are generally similar. They include participation in peaceful movements such as demonstrations, marches, or protests, often under the pretext of lack of prior authorization and illegal assembly. Although official numbers do not document the number of summonses, some can be tracked through daily monitoring of what human rights activists and defenders post on social media.

Besides summonses for peaceful popular movements, another type of summons is related to freedom of expression. Bahrain’s ranking dropped from 171st to 173rd in Reporters Without Borders’ 2024 annual report on press freedoms. Because media and press freedom are restricted in Bahrain, citizens often resort to expressing their opinions and demands on social media platforms. Numerous summonses have been monitored for posting on online networks, especially in relation to posts that reveal corruption, criticize the ruling authorities, and expose the violations of the security establishment and its agencies.

The backgrounds of these summonses posed several problems related to the right of citizens to express their opinions, participate in public life, and object to the exercise of power or oppose its decisions. These rights are stipulated in the Bahraini constitution and recognized in international conventions. These summonses showed a clear tendency for the security services to discipline any critic or opponent of the system and silence any demands for reform and accountability. As a result, the policy of impunity has spread, and activists and human rights defenders are exposed to repeated prosecution and arrest.

Following the suppression of the pro-democracy movement, the frequency of summonses increased. It reached its peak at the end of the first decade of the demand movement, specifically in conjunction with the escalation of human rights activism in Bahrain. Through dozens of summonses, the authorities targeted participants in the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva. They also targeted those expressing their opinions in traditional and electronic media.

Over the years, the government has expanded its suppression of social media activity. In 2019, the Ministry of Interior announced that it would prosecute people who follow “inciting accounts” or who share incendiary account posts on their pages. For example, in 2020, it summoned and sentenced several public figures for their social media posts. In recent years, activists have resorted to self-censorship to express their opinions and avoid legal repercussions. However, a number of activists and human rights defenders have remained within the circle of systematic targeting.

III. Groups Targeted Through Summonses

In 2023, more than 100 Bahraini citizens were summoned and interrogated for participating in popular demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians and condemning the Israeli war on Gaza. The summons also targeted solidarity activists on social media platforms, including prominent political activist Ebrahim Sharif. Additionally, the summonses took on a sectarian dimension, with some targeting religious scholars and citizens for participating in Ashura ceremonies. For instance, Sheikh Mahmood AlAali was summoned for delivering an Ashura speech.

During January and February 2024, twelve cases of summons were recorded, including four children, ten of whom were arrested. These numbers indicate an upward trend in Bahrain’s use of the summons procedure as an abusive measure that confiscates and restricts individuals’ freedom.

Despite the Bahraini government’s policy of gagging and the threat of imprisonment against freedom of expression, and despite the self-censorship imposed on activists and human rights defenders in their attempts to make their voices heard without being targeted, the use of summons remains widespread and targets specific groups.

  • Summonses target participants in peaceful protests

On charges of illegal assembly, dozens of summonses are recorded every year. Bahrain witnessed a steady increase in summonses after the government signed the Abraham Accords with Israel and after the Israeli war on Gaza since October 2023. These developments provoked outrage among Bahraini citizens, leading them to demonstrate and protest against normalization with Israel and show solidarity with the people of Gaza in Palestine. Since last October, dozens of participants in solidarity events have been summoned, including about 50 children, who were forcibly detained and prosecuted for supporting the Palestinian people. Some of them are still in detention. In addition to the annual marches held to commemorate the anniversary of the 14 February pro-democracy movement, participants are targeted through summonses and arrests.

Recently, protests and marches organized by families of political prisoners have emerged almost daily to demand the release of their loved ones. In March 2021, for example, prisoners’ families organized demonstrations demanding the release of their relatives due to overcrowding and the lack of proper medical care in prison. Many participants were summoned, at least three were arrested, and fines were imposed on them. On April 1, 39 families of political prisoners staged a sit-in in front of Jau Prison to demand the immediate release of their loved ones, after their pleas were ignored by the authorities. However, Ministry of Interior security personnel mobilized against the families’ peaceful action, surrounding them, photographing them, and later summoning a number of them. As part of their ongoing action, on 15 April, the families of several political prisoners staged a sit-in in front of the Bahraini Council of Minister’s building during its weekly session to demand the unconditional release of their sons. Subsequently, a number of them were summoned. The latest of these repressive measures occurred in May when security forces launched summons campaigns against a series of movements organized by families of political prisoners to demand the cleaning of prisons. At a protest on 2 May, riot police attacked peaceful protesters, resulting in the arrest of two women and several participants.

  • Sectarian-based summonses

Under the guise of Law No. 18 of 1973, which criminalizes public gatherings, Bahraini Shias are persecuted. This persecution takes various forms, including preventing some of them, especially prisoners, from practicing their religious rituals and commemorating Ashura ceremonies. Additionally, some participants and reciters in processions, as well as those responsible for the mourning councils, are summoned for interrogation. Some individuals may be forced to sign pledges not to participate in such gatherings in the future. Over the years, Bahraini authorities have continued to target religious freedoms by summoning citizens, including reciters, for practicing their religious beliefs. This is especially evident during the Ashura ceremony, which includes activities such as holding mourning councils, participating in mourning processions, and raising black flags and Ashura banners.

For instance, AbdulNabi AbdulHasan Ebrahim Khalil was summoned, arrested, and sentenced to one year in prison solely for reading the Ziyarat Ashura, a popular Shia ritual in Bahrain and around the world. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion that AbdulNabi’s detention was arbitrary due to clear violations of due process and fair trial rights. A number of clerics and preachers have also been systematically targeted on sectarian grounds. This includes Husaini preachers such as Sheikh AbdulAziz AlKhadran and Sheikh Hani AlBannaa, as well as Husaini minstrels like Mahdi Sahwan and Abdulla AlBoori, among others. Recently, in May 2023, the security authorities summoned Sheikh Mohamed Sanqur after he criticized the Ministry of Education for changes made to the curriculum in line with Bahrain’s normalization with Israel.

  • Summonses against activists and the freedom of opinion

This measure has been frequently used with the same political backgrounds and malicious charges since the start of the pro-democracy movement. However, its frequency has increased markedly from 2015 to the present day. Many activists and human rights defenders, including political activist Ebrahim Sharif and his wife, Farida Ghulam, have been and continue to be summoned due to their expression of opinions. In 2016, Sharif was summoned for questioning and charged with incitement against the regime based on Article 165 of Bahrain’s Penal Code.

On 5 November 2016, officials at Bahrain airport prevented him from leaving the country and informed him of a travel ban. His wife was also informed at the bridge between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia on 24 October 2016 that she was banned from traveling. Sharif continued to be repeatedly summoned over the years. In less than a year (between December 2023 and March 2024), he was summoned twice due to situations in which he expressed his opinion. In December 2023, he was summoned and investigated for tweets expressing his opinion against Bahrain’s decision to join the US-led Maritime Alliance in the Red Sea. He denounced the government’s confiscation of its people’s decision to reject normalization with Israel and considered the alliance as protecting Israeli interests. Consequently, he was arrested for a week. Sharif was also arrested in March 2024 and detained by Bahraini authorities for 7 days pending investigation after being summoned by the PPO for tweets posted on the X platform, criticizing corruption and waste of public money.

Bahraini authorities have used the ambiguous provisions of local laws to target activists. Many individuals have been summoned and forced to delete their posts related to public issues or criticizing government policy in exchange for their release. In this context, we mention the repeated targeting of historical researcher Jasim Al Abbas solely for sharing his historical academic research on social media. Retaliatory actions have also targeted prisoners. In several cases, inmates have been deprived of contacting their families for weeks, and in other cases, for months, after a family member posted information about the violations committed against them.

  • Journalists and photographers summoned

Authorities in Bahrain impose restrictions on media workers, hindering their work by restricting licenses and putting them at risk of prosecution and arrest. Among the violations they are exposed to are summonses as a means of keeping them under surveillance. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) Vice President, Sayed Yusuf AlMuhafadhah, was summoned by the PPO more than once for publishing statistics on cases of ill-treatment. The work of photojournalist Mazen Mahdi has been hindered by repeated urgent summonses, against the backdrop of his photographic coverage of field events in protest areas over the past years. The work of journalists has also been harassed through frequent summonses, such as the summoning of Jaafar AlJamri by the Cybercrimes Department against the backdrop of his media activity. This is in addition to the closure of the free media space and the complete absence of independent media outlets, especially after the closure of Al-Wasat newspaper in 2017, the last independent newspaper that operated in the country. These actions place Bahrain at the bottom of the list of Gulf countries in the current year regarding press freedom, ranking 173rd out of 180 countries.

  • Summoning families of detainees and victims of executions and imprisonments

The year 2016 saw a clear escalation by the Bahraini government in issuing arbitrary travel bans against a large number of activists and families of political prisoners. This deprived them of their most basic rights: the freedom of movement and travel. As the years progressed, the authorities used summonses and travel bans as a means of restricting individuals’ freedom of expression and movement. Repeated summonses targeted specific people each time, usually ending in detention for hours, and sometimes extending to investigation and detention for several days. Most of these individuals are related to defending the rights of detainees and advocating for the cases of prisoners of conscience.

As part of the summons policy, female activists, mothers, and wives of political prisoners are constantly harassed. Women human rights activists, including those who are often summoned because of their active activity in the field of human rights, defending the rights of prisoners of conscience, and exposing human rights violations, face periodic summonses. For example, activists Ebtisam AlSaegh, Najah Yusuf, Zainab AlKhmees, and others have been summoned several times on charges of inciting demonstrations and participating in unauthorized gatherings.

As a result of these summonses, some individuals have been arrested and subjected to investigation by physical, psychological, and sexual torture, leading to unjust prison sentences handed down after unfair trials marred by gross violations of human rights. Some mothers of political prisoners are also subjected to harassment and intimidation, such as activist Hajar Mansoor, while others are summoned, including the mother of the political prisoner released under royal pardon, Mohamed AlDaqqaq, in conjunction with a hunger strike that her son was on in protest against his poor prison conditions and medical neglect.

Some of the most prominent individuals targeted in this measure include activists, human rights defenders, families of prison victims, and prisoners of conscience. Notable examples include Ali Muhana, the father of political prisoner Husain; AbdulMajid Abdulla (Haj Samood); AbdulNabi AlHawaj; Munir Mushaima, brother of execution victim Sami Mushaima; Jameel AlSamea, father of execution victim Abbas AlSamea; AbdulHadi Mushaima, father of victim Ali Mushaima; Ali AlJaziri, father of victim Husain AlJaziri; and Sayed Saeed Isa, father of the victim Sayed Hashim.

The following are testimonies from several citizens who have experienced summonses violations as a form of political revenge.

  •     Munir Merza Ahmed Mushaima

Hajj Munir Mushaima is the brother of execution victim Sami Mushaima and the father of minor political prisoner Mohamed, who was sentenced to three months in prison. Mushaima described some of the chapters of the systematic targeting of his family. He has been repeatedly summoned over the past year, with a total of nine summonses. Two of these summonses resulted in his arrest: on 7 June 2023, he was held for a week in the Dry Dock Detention Center, and the second arrest occurred on 5 August 2023, where he was detained for three days in Roundabout 17 Police Station. These arrests were made against the background of participating in a march to condemn the burning of the Quran in Sweden. The charges included participating in protests or marches demanding the release of detainees under the pretext of lack of authorization, charges that Mushaima believes are mainly motivated by reprisal against his family.

  •     Teacher Ali Muhana

Teacher Ali Muhana, the father of political prisoner Husain, has been systematically subjected to summonses and detentions. As of 15 May 2024, he has received 9 summonses, following 13 summonses in 2023 and 18 summonses in 2022. This high number of summonses, all with political backgrounds, targets those advocating for rights, particularly Shia individuals involved in protests and marches. Some tweets and videos posted on the X platform address Bahrain’s political situation, including demands for the release of his son Husain Muhana, support for victims of prisons and executions, advocacy for reform, and support for Palestine. He typically receives notification of the summons through a phone call, SMS, or paper summons. Upon completion of the investigation, he usually signs a pledge to appear at the requested time. However, in many cases, the authorities detain him at the detention center where he spends the night, subsequently transferring him to the PPO. There, the prosecutor decides whether to imprison him or release him.

  •     Sayed Saeed Sayed Isa

Sayed Saeed Sayed Isa is the father of Hashim, a victim of a shooting during a protest in Sitra on 31 December 2011, at the age of 15. For 12 years, Sayed Saeed has been demanding compensation for his son’s killing. Some of these cases have resulted in prison sentences ranging from days to weeks or even months, most of which are related to gathering and participating in demonstrations. The last of these summonses was earlier this year after a video of several parents of detainees and victims demanding rights, including him went viral. He was summoned despite his health condition. During these summonses, Sayed Saeed was repeatedly insulted and threatened. These threats included arbitrarily dismissing him from his job, confiscating his house, and even threatening to harm his female family members. All of these actions aim to break his resolve to refrain from demanding his rights.

  •     AbdulNabi AlHawaj

AbdulNabi AlHawaj has been summoned from most of Bahrain’s police stations due to his participation in marches, sit-ins, funerals, and memorials. He was unable to appear before some of these summonses due to his illness. The latest summons was by the Cybercrime Unit on charges of inciting disturbance of the regime, a case that is still ongoing. This case has been transferred from the PPO to the court, and a decision was issued prohibiting him from traveling. He and 5 other families were summoned and investigated separately. Following this investigation, they were transferred to the PPO, where they were interrogated for two hours by the Public Prosecutor. During the nearly 9-hour investigation, AlHawaj was asked, “What do you wish for the people?” He replied that he wished for the people to have their demands fulfilled and that he stands with the people until their demands are met. Consequently, this malicious charge has been brought against him.

  •     Ali Humam

li Humam, an activist known for his solidarity with the rights of political prisoners in Bahrain, has been subjected to more than 12 summonses. As of May 2024, three summonses have been issued this year alone. The multiplicity of summonses indicates the methodology of this violation by the security authorities and its adoption as a retaliatory measure. He was summoned by various centers including the AlMa’ared Center, AlRifaa AlSharqi Center, Qudaibiya Center, Budaiya Center, Hamad City Police Station, Sitra Police Station, Khamis Police Station, Nabih Saleh Police Station, and the Cybercrimes Investigation Department, following which a travel ban was issued against him. The backgrounds of these repeated violations include participating in marches and sit-ins, attending funerals, visiting a cemetery, and posting a video on social media.

This repeated persecution aims to create an atmosphere of intimidation and constant surveillance over the person. Surveillance methods may include cars monitoring the person’s home, infiltrators at demonstrations, or confiscation of phones. This surveillance is often used as evidence during summonses, with authorities claiming to have filmed the person participating in events demanding rights. The consequences of these summonses are severe, including keeping the target’s family in a state of constant fear and anxiety, confiscating property and personal belongings, and even seizing the car from its parking place and neighborhood. Overall, this harassment deeply affects the targeted individual’s mental state and all aspects of their life. One of the social effects of this violation is the fear people develop of being associated with the targeted individual at public events, as authorities attempt to label them as criminals for demanding their rights. This punishment specifically targets the families of the victims, aiming to silence them and break their resolve.

IV. The implications of a summons – a travel ban

Systematic repeated summonses have several repercussions, most notably the imposition of a travel ban. This constitutes a clear violation and restriction of individuals’ right to freedom of movement. Many of those summoned face this violation as authorities attempt to confine them without detention centers. The Bahraini government has employed this tactic to curtail the activities of human rights defenders in Bahrain and their cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives, and mechanisms in the field of human rights. This has been evident over the past years following the events of the demand movement.

However, the most serious aspect of this violation is the lack of legal justification for prohibiting the travel of those summoned – as many of these persons are never subjected to trial, much less convicted of any crime. Therefore, this arbitrary ban lacks legitimacy, indicating its nature as a retaliatory measure with political motives. It’s worth noting that those banned from traveling are often not informed in advance of this measure. Furthermore, individuals who are summoned are frequently unaware of their inclusion on travel ban lists until they are surprised at the airport, as has happened to a number of human rights defenders attempting to travel outside Bahrain.

  • Targeted by summonses

Most of those subjected to repeated summonses are also subject to travel bans. These violations are interconnected with Bahrain’s security services and are contrary to Article 19 of the Constitution, Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). For example, individuals like Sayed Isa AbdulNabi AlHawaj, Ali Humam, and Ali Muhana, who are parents of execution victims or political prisoners as previously mentioned, are among those affected. They, along with other activists, continue to face travel bans without legal justification or a judicial order explaining the reason for the punishment.

In this context, Ali Muhana recounts discovering that he was banned from traveling while attempting to cross the bridge connecting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in 2017. He was sent back to the Immigration and Passport Department, where his name was removed from the ban list. A second incident occurred in September 2022 when he traveled to Iraq via the UAE and found that he was banned from entering Dubai, despite not having visited there in 20 years. A third occurrence took place in May 2023 when he attempted to travel by road from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait but was prevented at the border. He was then taken by the police to the intelligence office, where they detained him for four hours, questioned him, and informed him that he was barred from entering Kuwait, even though he hadn’t visited in 20 years. He submitted requests to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lift his travel ban to these countries, but to no avail. When he visited the Kuwaiti embassy, he was informed that many people face similar issues and that the ban originates from Bahrain.

  • Sectarian travel bans

The sectarian targeting of Shias in Bahrain also impacts the right to freedom of movement. In addition to summonses, travel bans are utilized to curtail the freedom of individuals or groups. One example is the prohibition of religious travel campaigns from entering neighboring Gulf countries. ADHRB obtained information on the names of some of these campaigns that were denied entry to the UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, but is not authorized to release their names. Another example is the banning of two reciters, brothers Jaafar and Mahdi Sahwan, from entering the territories of Gulf countries, thereby denying their right to freedom of movement and travel. One of them was prevented from entering Kuwaiti territory without any reasons stated and was subjected to ill-treatment. In April 2023, he was barred from entering Omani territory, despite having visited the Sultanate in 2001 under normal circumstances and without any accusations issued against him.

  • Activists

The PPO in Bahrain is responsible for imposing travel bans against activists and human rights defenders. This constitutes an unlawful violation of individuals’ right to freedom of movement, practiced without providing any explanatory evidence to justify the bans. In addition to prosecution, arrests, trials, and arbitrary prison sentences that have restricted the freedom of numerous activists on malicious charges, their freedom continues to be restricted even after their release. One method used in this violation is the absence of a formal travel ban, but the ban is effectively enforced by refusing permission to travel to certain countries, specifically the Gulf countries.

  •     Ebtisam AlSaegh

Female human rights activist and former prisoner Ebtisam AlSaegh is still banned from entering some Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for unknown reasons. This restriction violates her right to movement. Despite having no issues with Saudi Arabia, she is banned from traveling there, preventing her from practicing religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah. The activist believes that if the reason for the ban is recommendations from the Bahraini government or the presence of her name on old lists, it should be lifted. More than one political prisoner has faced similar violations. When attempting to travel to Saudi Arabia, they were prevented for unknown reasons. Those who managed to travel to Saudi Arabia were arrested in Kuwait. This violation also entails subjecting activists to humiliation and harassment, treating them as criminals banned from entering these countries, despite not committing any crime. The activist calls for the lifting of travel ban regulations in all countries while protecting the right of human rights activists to criticize the human rights situation in their countries and demand reforms. She also demands that Arab countries not follow Bahrain’s example in criminalizing human rights work and calls for the end of this injustice.

  •         Ali AlHajee

Activist and former political prisoner Ali AlHajee was released in June 2023 under the Alternative Sanctions Law after spending 10 years in prison on political charges. In November of the same year, despite official bodies failing to explain why he was still under a travel ban, AlHajee went to the gate of the Ministry of Interior building with a piece of paper that says “I want to meet an official to help me.” The next day, upon visiting the ministry, he was arrested and interrogated on charges of “insulting a public employee.” He was released a day later on bail. In January 2024, AlHajee continued his demands and received promises from the PPO to drop any potential charges related to his review with officials regarding his travel ban. However, in April, when he re-visited the PPO, he was asked to leave. Shortly after, he received a summons to appear in court on charges of “entering a restricted security zone.” AlHajee is still subjected to the travel ban, as a new case has been filed against him at the First Lower Criminal Court, this time for entering a restricted security zone. He is currently deprived of his right to travel for an unknown reason, which is nothing more than a reprisal for his human rights activism.

Violating the rights of citizens by restricting the right to travel and movement has become one of the systematic means used by the government of Bahrain to suppress freedom of expression. This tactic also aims to keep those targeted by this measure under surveillance and send a warning message to its citizens, prompting them to resort to self-censorship to avoid the legal consequences of being targeted. This procedure has become a regular occurrence against released detainees and human rights activists. It extends to anyone who breaks the silence and seeks justice for political prisoners or calls for reforms in the system of government. Those who advocate for political prisoners or call for reforms are often placed on travel ban lists or banned from entering certain countries.

V. Conclusion

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights (ADHRB) affirms the right of all individuals to express their opinions and participate in peaceful gatherings. These are basic rights stipulated in the Bahraini constitution and laws and ratified by international conventions, including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). ADHRB also condemns the violations against former political prisoners, activists, and human rights defenders. These violations include their repeated summons for exercising their basic rights, as well as the consequences such as forcing them to sign pledges and imposing travel bans. ADHRB calls on the Government of Bahrain to stop these violations immediately and to protect the right of Bahraini citizens to freedom of expression. Additionally, ADHRB urges the government to take real measures demonstrating its commitment to reforming the human rights situation in the country. This includes stopping the criminalization of human rights work and immediately lifting the travel ban on all activists, human rights defenders, and advocates.