Bahrain: health workers convicted to prison sentences


Thursday, 29 November 2012 21:13

 

On 21 November, 23 health professionals in Bahrain were sentenced to three months in prison on charges of illegally gathering during Arab spring protests in 2011. Five others were acquitted.

Richard Sollom, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights said: “We are disappointed, though not surprised, that the Bahraini regime once again has decided to punish health professionals merely for expressing their right to peaceful assembly. Instead of punishing these dedicated professionals, the Government of Bahrain should focus on prosecuting the people responsible for torturing many of those who were arrested and detained.”

The 23 people convicted today include 12 physicians, as well as nurses and other health professionals. All are expected to appeal their convictions. Four other health professionals whose appeals were denied in October are already serving sentences ranging from one to five years.

Last year, a Commission of Inquiry established by the King of Bahrain to investigate charges of human rights abuses, recommended that the government review and commute the sentences of all persons charged with offenses involving peaceful political expression and to drop any outstanding charges against them. However, the court did not follow this advice.

“None of these health professionals belongs in prison,” said Sollom. “Once again, we call on the regime to reverse the convictions of all health professionals, to expunge those convictions from their records, to restore them to their jobs, and to compensate them for the time they lost in having to challenge these spurious charges.”

Source: Physicians for Human Rights website

 

AIl Demands Bahrain Free Prisoners of Conscience Following Verdict “Driven by Vindictiveness”


 

Thirteen Men Imprisoned for Exercising Human Rights in 2011 Anti-Government Protest Must Be Released Immediately

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) – Amnesty International today urged Bahraini authorities to overturn an appeal court decision upholding the convictions and sentences against 13 opposition activists and again demanded their immediate and unconditional release.

An Amnesty International trial observer was present in court on Tuesday when the High Criminal Court of Appeal in Bahrain upheld the convictions and sentences of the 13 men convicted last year by military courts on charges related to anti-government protests.

“Today’s court decision further engulfs Bahrain in injustice and shows once more that the Bahraini authorities are not on the path of reform, but are rather driven by vindictiveness,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

“Rather than uphold the sentences, which range from five years to life in prison for peacefully exercising their human rights, the Bahraini authorities must quash the convictions for the 13 men and release them immediately and unconditionally.”

The 13, including prominent activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and opposition political activist Ebrahim Sharif, were originally sentenced by a military court of appeal in June 2011 to a range of two years to life in prison on charges including “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution.”

On 30 April 2012, the Court of Cassation ordered their appeal be held before a civilian court. This process began on May 22 and ended with today’s verdict, which was announced in a session than lasted only three minutes.

All prisoners maintain their innocence.

Farida Ismail, Ebrahim Sharif’s wife, said: “I was expecting this outcome, as it is clear to us the government is not ready to be held accountable – its procedures continue as before.”

“There is not enough pressure from abroad. What happens next will depend on which steps are taken by the international community and what states do in the next Universal Periodic Review session. As for our government, it is clearly not ready for justice.”

Bahrain’s human rights record will be under scrutiny during the next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the United Nations Human Rights Council in mid-September, when the Gulf state will have to confirm its acceptance or rejection of 176 peer recommendations presented to it during the previous UPR session in June.

“Bahrain cannot get a free pass at the UN Human Rights Council. We urge states to tell the Bahraini authorities that today’s verdict crosses a red line, and that they can no longer be considered credible partners,” said Sahraoui.

Amnesty International also repeated its call to Bahraini authorities to order an immediate and independent investigation into allegations made by defendants during previous court hearings that they had been tortured, sexually assaulted, and otherwise ill-treated while in detention in order to coerce “confessions” from them.

Fourteen opposition activists were originally arrested in 2011 after taking part in pro-reform protests in Manama. One of the men was later released. Many have alleged they were tortured during their first few days of detention while being interrogated by officers from the National Security Agency.

Some charges against three of the defendants were dropped on September 4.

Opposition activists who were arrested include: Hassan Mshaima’, Abdelwahab Hussain, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Dr Abdel-Jalil al-Singace, Mohammad Habib al-Miqdad, Abdel-Jalil al-Miqdad, Sa’eed Mirza al-Nuri, Mohammad Hassan Jawwad, Mohammad Ali Ridha Isma’il, Abdullah al-Mahroos, Abdul-Hadi Abdullah Hassan al-Mukhodher, Ebrahim Sharif, Salah Abdullah Hubail al-Khawaja.

Al-Hur Yousef al-Somaikh has since been released, having served his sentence after the Court of Cassation reduced it to six months in prison.

Other prisoners of conscience currently held in Bahrain include:

Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights is serving a three-year prison sentence for calling for and participating in ‘illegal gatherings.’ His appeal on this case is due to start on September 10.

Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, the former president of the Bahrain Teacher’s Association (BTA), is serving a ten-year prison term imposed by a military court for using his position “to call for a strike by teachers, halting the educational process and inciting hatred of the regime,” among other charges. There is no evidence proving that he used or advocated violence.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

 

I am not LEFT, I am not RIGHT… I am not HINDU, I am not MUSLIM… I am just a Journalist.


My Case: Let the Jury decide

By Syed Hassan Kazim in http://kindlemag.in

2012-08-30

This time I am not going to write about any particular incident and events surrounding it. Because in a journalist’s life, there comes a time when he has to clarify regarding his own belief , principles, ideas and his own prism through which he sees the things happening around him. After writing for a considerable period of time, he is confronted with an avalanche of questions, and attacked from all sides, left, right and the centre. So please bear with me this time, while I write about my understanding of certain things while standing like a culprit in the ‘’ Janta ki Adalat’’ aka, the jury of the masses.

 

In a short journalistic career of 5 years, I have been attacked from each and every side, from many people because some think that I am an advocate of Islamism, which I am totally not. I hate the radicalism prevailing in my own religion as much as I hate the orthodoxy prevailing in the other. The rightists think that I am leftist and the leftists think that I am a rightist. If I write against the crimes of Narendra ‘’ Milesovic’’ Modi,  I am branded as the sympathizer of Al Qaeda. If I pen down something against Al Qaeda and other radicalists and ‘’Lashkars’’ then I am regarded as a ‘’secularist’’.

 

If I speak against the American, Saudi and Israeli bullying tactics against Iran, I am accused of acting as a Shiahaving a sectarian outlook. Despite agreeing to the fact that Bashar Al Asad is an autocrat and can go to any extent to save his regime, if I write against the way American, Saudi and Turkish backed terrorist groups, most of them, Al Qaeda sponsored and trying to create mayhem in Syria , I am branded as some sort of an Iranian agent and most of the people start reminding me about my opposition to the way the uprising in Bahrain was suppressed. Some people try to compare the situation in Syria and Bahrain despite knowing the fact that in Bahrain, America never wanted a regime change while in Syria, US is hell bent on a regime change as per its own choice for the survival of Israel, America’s biggest and most favoured stooge and ally in the Middle East.

 

Back home, If I speak against the policies of the Congress led UPA and the Congress as a whole, I am accused by the supporters of the Congress as someone who doesn’t know about the way Indian democracy and politics work. Some Congress people even tried to portray me as a sympathizer of Anna, despite knowing the fact that I have been in a great disagreement with Anna’s and his team’s way. If I write against Anna and Ramdev, I am accused of being an agent of Congress who is up there to defame the two ‘’ pious’’ people. Even I am asked that ‘’ you , the Muslims only think about the welfare of your own people, no matter in which part of the world they reside and do not give an iota of attention to the condition and welfare of your fellow Indian citizens’’, as if Anna and Ramdev are the sole spokesmen of the Indian masses. If I ask why Anna becomes silent whenever he is asked to condemn Modi , I am reminded to understand the pros and cons and the limitations of Anna and his movement. I cannot understand where the so called ‘’limitations’’ go when Anna praises Modi on his so called development, and Ramdev shares a dais with the mass murderer of Gujarat?

 

If I write against the massacres of Rohingyas Muslim community in Burma, I am again branded as an Islamist who is always up there to defend Islam and support Muslims. But I think it as my duty as a human being to raise my voice against the injustices being done, no matter against whom. I regard it as my duty to speak against Burmese regime and the criminal silence of Aang Sang Sui Kyi as well as the forceful conversion of the Hindus to Islam in Pakistan.  It sometimes becomes irritating to see the same people who accuse me of being sympathetic to everything which are associated with Muslims, becoming silent and expressionless when I write against the injustices done against the people of other faith residing in the Muslim countries. I think that somehow they prefer to ignore my writings which can break their self created stereotypes regarding me and my views.

 

As a concerned Indian citizen, if I write against the human rights violations in Kashmir, I am branded as some sort of a sympathizer of the separatist forces and an anti- national; traitor, as if an Indian has no right to speak against the excesses of the security forces.

 

The list is long but just to sum up, I would like to request my friends to start looking at me as a journalist first, and everything else later.  I do not want to impose my religious ideology on others. I will speak and write against the injustices and tyrannies, no matter they are done against anyone, at whichever place or country. After all, the thing which suffers and matters most is the humanity and humane values.  The blood of a single innocent human being is equal to the blood of entire humanity and everyone in his own capacity and rights should speak against the tyrants and unjust system. It’s our duty as human beings which we cannot forget or ignore.

 

In an age of post modernization, no one owes any explanation to anyone about what he believes, but this write up is just an effort, so that people can understand my writings in the right perspective. Hope my effort won’t go in vain and I will stand vindicated in the ultimate analysis.

Bahrain jails prominent activist Nabeel Rajab for 3 years #WTFnews


 

Published: 16 August, 2012, 13:23
Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab attends an anti-regime demonstration in the village of Muqsha, Bahrain, December 9, 2011.

Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab attends an anti-regime demonstration in the village of Muqsha, Bahrain, December 9, 2011.

TRENDS:Arab world protests

TAGS: ConflictMiddle EastProtestPolitics,Human rightsOppositionPolice

Bahraini Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been sentenced to three years in jail for “participation in an illegal assembly” and “calling for a march without prior notification.”

Rajab has been held in police custody since June 6th, apparently over comments made on twitter critical of the Prime Minister in Bahrain, and calling for him to step down. Rajab was sentenced on July 9th to three months for his remarks, raising eyebrows and concerns around the world among free-speech activists.

But on Thursday, the lower Bahraini court sentenced the human rights activist to another three years for “involvement in illegal practices and inciting gatherings and calling for unauthorised marches through social networking sites”, for his “participation in an illegal assembly” and for his “participation in an illegal gathering and calling for a march without prior notification.”

Rajab himself is a prominent human rights activist, and has played a significant role in anti-regime demonstrations in recent months. Rajab is also affiliated with international groups such as Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch censured the July 9 court ruling and said, “If anyone is guilty of insult today, it is the Bahraini government, which has reminded citizens they’re not free to express political views.” On July 5, Rajab called on the international community to stop the Manama regime’s violent crackdown on protesters in Bahrain.He said the silence of the European community and the United States is a green light for the Al Khalifa forces to continue their violation of human rights in Bahrain.

Amnesty International claimed Bahrain had done little to improve its human rights record following its bloody crackdown on Arab Spring protesters last year.

“Nabeel Rajab’s imprisonment is the latest example of how, despite government promises to introduce reforms following its violent crackdown on protesters in 2011, few improvements have been seen on the ground,” the group said in a statement at the time.

“He should be released immediately and all other charges or convictions against him dropped or overturned,” it added.

Separately, Bahraini lawyers said on August 14 that the appeals court postponed its verdict in the case of 13 detained opposition figures, including senior activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, until September 4.

Bahraini protesters have been holding demonstrations against the ruling Al Khalifa family since February 2011 and they hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the deaths of demonstrators during the uprising.

 

Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Said Yousif arrested


 

Published: 15 August, 2012, 22:32,  RT News
Image from twitter.com by user @SAIDYOUSIF

Image from twitter.com by user @SAIDYOUSIF

TAGS: Middle EastHuman rights

 

Human rights activist Said Yousif tweeted that he was arrested at a checkpoint in A’ali, a major Bahraini town. Yousif has spoken out in support of Nabeel Rajab, another activist recently jailed over comments he made on Twitter.

Yousif says security forces manning the checkpoint had contacted his wife so that she could pick up his “two little kids,” but no more information was forthcoming.

The activist, who heads the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), has become a target for security forces in the country as he regularly speaks out against the Bahraini authorities’ crackdown on anti-regime protesters.

The ongoing uprising by the country’s Shiite majority, which claims systematic discrimination by the Sunni monarchy, has begun to lose steam following a series of mass arrests.

At least 80 people have reportedly died and thousands have been put behind bars since the uprising first began 18 months ago.
Among those arrested for criticizing the country’s leadership was Nabeel Rajab.

Nineteen members of the US Congress recently wrote to Bahrain’s king, calling for the release of Rajab, who is serving a three-month sentence for comments made on Twitter, Al Jazeera reported Sunday.

Rajab appeared in court on Sunday in a separate case connected with his participation in an “illegal gathering.”Yousif told Al Jazeera that a verdict on the latest case against Rajab was expected this Thursday.

Rajab was originally imprisoned for “insulting the Muharraq [an area near the capital Manama] people on his Twitter account,” according to state-run Bahrain News Agency.

“The offended accused Rajab of tarnishing their reputation and casting doubt on their patriotism,” Chief Prosecutor Nayef Yusuf Mahmoud was quoted as saying.

The 19 US lawmakers calling for Rajab’s release lauded the monarchy for the “positive reforms” it had initiated in the wake of the uprising, but claimed the case against Rajab ran “counter to the government’s assurances that individuals will not be prosecuted for peaceful political speech.”

The United States has often been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights violations in the kingdom, as Bahrain remains a vital regional partner. Bahrain currently hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for maritime forces in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and beyond.
In a separate case, 13 imprisoned Bahraini opposition activists who had been swept up in late-night raids last year will have to wait until September 4 to hear the verdict in their appeal.

Those activists received sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment by a military court on charges that included “protesting” and “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution.” One activist was subsequently released after serving six months in prison.

After their sentences were upheld following the military appellate process, the authorities finally allowed them to appear before a civilian court this May.

 

Bahrain: An open letter from the family of Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab


 

To the governments of the USA, the UK and all governments who have influence on Bahrain And to the UN and all Regional and International Human Rights Organisations 

 

 Bahrain: An open letter from the family of Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – My name is Sumaya Rajab, the wife of the prominent Bahraini human rights defender,Nabeel Rajab, who is currently detained in Bahrain. I write this letter in my name, and the names of our son Adam and our daughter Malak to urge you to use your influence and act quickly to guarantee my husband’s release immediately and unconditionally.

The Bahraini government fabricated a number of cases against Nabeel to take revenge because of his human rights activities. He was recently convicted as a result of his tweets in which he criticized the Prime Minister who has been in his post for 42 years. It is well-known that Nabeel exercised his right to freedom of expression in his tweets, which was guaranteed by all international conventions for human rights. Other cases taken against Nabeel related to his criticism of the security forces and the use of excessive force and torture and also his calls for peaceful protests through social networks. The right to assembly to demand civil rights is guaranteed by Bahraini laws.

My husband Nabeel is a prominent Bahraini rights activist and he is the head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and a member of Human Rights Watch’s MENA Advisory Board. He is also the Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights. Nabeel has worked in human rights for 20 years and he has held important positions in several countries.

With the beginning of what is known as the Arab Spring, Nabeel initiated many peaceful activities to support the right of all peoples to decide their destinies. This came at the same time as the Bahraini revolution in February 2011 which demanded the Bahraini people’s legitimate rights to democracy, social justice and the end of corruption. Nabeel initiated a campaign on social networks to support Bahraini people’s rights, erase corruption and uncover violations of human rights. He also tried to uncover the role of the ruling regime in Bahrain in these violations. Nabeel has become one the most prominent activists on social networks, especially Twitter. He has at present more than 166,000 followers from all around the world. He travelled around the world and he met several international officials both in the West and the Middle East and officials in human rights organizations and institutions to uncover the human rights violations carried out by the regime and to explore ways to stop these violations and end the impunity. Nabeel and his team at the BCHR succeeded in uncovering the lies of the regime in front of the world. As a result, the Bahraini regime manipulated the politicized judicial authorities to fabricate cases against him in order to imprison him and stop his influential activities.

Bahraini security forces attacked his home on several occasions and fired tear gas inside the house in order to put pressure on him and his family. His family, including his children and elderly mother, have suffered from breathing problems more than once as a result of the tear gas. What happened inside the house was documented by video recordings and through international statements issued on these occasions. The regime also made it difficult for Nabeel to work and ruined his business. Our children were harassed in school and I, his wife, was sacked from my job after a campaign of harassment so that the regime could make sure that Nabeel’s only income was stopped. Nabeel has been arrested and interrogated on several occasions for his criticism of the regime and also for his calls for peaceful protests. He declared from his prison that he rejects all these fabricated charges and he refuses to appear before any court because the judicial system in Bahrain lacks independence and transparency. Dozens of regional and international human rights organisations issued statements demanding the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab, an end to the harassment of him and our family and also that he be allowed to work freely on his independent human rights activities, but the Bahraini regime did not respond to all these calls.

Nabeel Rajab is currently held at Jaw central prison in harsh conditions which reflect the desire of the Bahraini regime to take revenge. He is being held in a dirty cell where there are insects. The cell has no ventilation despite the high temperature. He is isolated from political prisoners and held with criminal prisoners. Prisoners are not allowed to talk to him, excluding the two people who share the cell with him. He was refused access to the doctor despite the fact that he suffers from eczema, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. In addition, on several occasions, the prison administration has denied access to his medication in order to put pressure on him. Contrary to the rules of Bahraini prisons, we as a family are harassed when we apply to visit him and the reply to the applications always take a long time. Also, in contrast to other detainees, he is always brought to the visiting room with his hands handcuffed.

We, as the family of Nabeel Rajab, plead to you and plead to the UN and all international human rights organizations and institutions to demand from the Bahraini authorities that Nabeel Rajab should be released, that abuses against him and our family should stop and that he should be allowed to practice his human rights activities as guaranteed by all international conventions. We also hold the international community responsible for protecting freedoms and human rights in Bahrain and for working to put an end to human rights violations against the Bahraini people and especially against human rights defenders such as Nabeel Rajab.

We hope that you will take our plea into consideration and that you realize that the silence of some Western governments about the gross human rights violations in Bahrain means that the Bahraini people will lose trust in you and in principles you talk about. The people of Bahrain cannot understand the silence of the international community about the violations taking place in Bahrain while it is moving to resolve violations in other areas of the world. Freedom and respect for human rights are the only path to building a flourishing future for all people without any exception, and we in Bahrain long to build a state based on the foundations of justice and equality for all Bahraini people without any exception.

Bahrain, 11 August 2012

Sumaya Rajab, wife of activist Nabeel Rajab
Adam Rajab, son of activist Nabeel Rajab
Malak Rajab, daughter of activist Nabeel Rajab

 

Verdicts to be Issued for Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab


Verdicts to be Issued Thursday for Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab

 (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) -On Thursday August 16, a court in Manama, Bahrain is expected to issue a verdict/hear briefs in four cases pending against Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, including Rajab’s appeal over the three-month sentence he is currently serving for being found guilty of libel due to posting six statements on Twitter that are critical of the BahrainiPrime Minister. The other cases that the court will hear include allegedly inciting gatherings and unauthorized marches.This is not the first time the court has set a date for a verdict, and in other prominent cases – notably that of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja – the court has met only to announce a delay. These postponements raise the question as to the legitimacy of Bahrain’s judicial process. Media reports have cited the delays as an indication of the government’s commitment to reform, yet the track record to justify such conclusions is lacking.

“I believe strongly in peaceful means of struggle. It could take longer time, but has better results,” Nabeel Rajab told Witness Bahrain in a videotaped interview just days before his arrest. “I will continue all my life struggling for democracy and human rights.”

Rajab is currently being held in Jaw Central Prison and, according to reports from his family, in an insect-ridden cell without air conditioning or proper ventilation, and without needed medical attention for his eczema, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.

“We, as the family of Nabeel Rajab, plead to you and plead to the UN and all international human rights organizations and institutions to demand from the Bahraini authorities that Nabeel Rajab should be released, that abuses against him and our family should stop and that he should be allowed to practice his human rights activities as guaranteed by all international conventions,” wrote Nabeel Rajab’s wife Sumaya in an open letter on behalf of herself and her two children.

In addition to this just-released video interview, in which Nabeel Rajab talks about his work oh behalf of the Bahraini people’s struggle for democracy and human rights, a member of Witness Bahrain conducted a video interview with Nabeel Rajab on July 9, 2012, the day he was arrested and taken to prison, including filming surreptitious footage of the arrest itself.

Press contact for Witness Bahrain:
Kate Raphael katrap40@gmail.com, +1-510-381-1287

Appeal Bahraini health workers: nine back to prison, nine cleared of all charges .


Bahrain (Political) 2003

Bahrain (Political) 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday, 22 June 2012 07:17

 

Last week, nine medical professionals in Bahrain were sentenced to up to five years in prison for ‘crimes against the state’. Nine were cleared of any charges by the Bahrain High Criminal Court of Appeal.

A further two healthcare workers did not appeal against their sentences; they are thought to have left Bahrain or gone into hiding. The twenty Shia doctors and nurses were arrested and convicted after civil unrest broke out in Bahrain in February 2011. Earlier, a military judge awarded them much harsher sentences, which led to a huge international outcry condemning the poliically motivated charges. The new sentences range from one month to five years for offences including ‘attempting to occupy a public hospital using force’. The original sentences were from five to fifteen years.

Medical neutrality

The British Medical Association (BMA), as well as numerous human rights organisations have expressed  their profound disappointment with the outcome of the appeal procedure. The BMA has repeatedly lobbied the Bahraini authorities over the case amid concerns that medical neutrality was being jeopardised. The BMA director of professional activities, Vivienne Nathanson, said: ‘We have seen no evidence presented against these doctors and it therefore appears to be wholly contrary to natural justice for them to be found guilty.’

Torture and ill-treatment

Dr Nathanson’s letter to Bahrain’s king states that Bahrain ‘risks appearing to persecute healthcare workers, under the guise of criminal charges, solely because they have fulfilled their fundamental ethical duty to treat patients injured in anti-government protests according to medical need.’ The BMA also calls for an independent investigation into claims by the healthcare workers that they were tortured and ill-treated during their time in custody.

 

Source: BMA website news, 14 June 2012

Bahrain rights leader arrested for ‘offensive’ tweets: BCHR #Censorship


Published Monday, May 7, 2012

Human rights leader Nabeel Rajab is being held in a Bahraini jail because of comments he made on Twitter, his daughter said on Monday.

Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights (BCHR), was arrested on Saturday evening after flying into the country, and was charged with a string of offenses on Sunday afternoon.

Maryam al-Khawaja, who has taken over as acting head of the BCHR while Rajab remains incarcerated, said the charges against him were based on comments he had made on the social networking site.

“He is going to have several charges against him, mostly about what he writes on Twitter. They said he offended an official in the government and because of his Twitter there were violent attacks on police and calling for illegal protests,” she told Al-Akhbar.

“We knew they had been building up a case against him using Twitter because the last two times he has been arrested what they would do is bring out a file of hundreds of pages of copies of his tweets. That’s their evidence,” she added.

Maryam said that Rajab had refused to respond to any of the charges put against him as he did not recognize the legitimacy of the court.

A statement from the Interior Ministry confirmed that the evidence against Rajab was predominantly from publicly available social networks, but did not specifically mention Twitter.

“The Public Prosecution filed a case against the defendant after compiling compelling evidence of his involvement in inciting illegal rallies and marches online on social networking websites,” it said.

Following an interview with the BBC’s Hard Talk show two weeks ago, Rajab was threatened on Twitter by Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid Al-Khalifa, saying “you are not going to get away with this every time.”

Maryam also said her sister, prominent rights campaigner Zainab famous for her Twitter handle @angryarabiya, was being unfairly treated in jail.

Zainab has been detained for three weeks and is due to face a number of charges on Wednesday, including insulting a police officer.

“They have been harassing her inside prison,” Maryam said. “One of the things she has been doing is making paper toys for her two-year-old daughter. They came in and took away the toys.”

Their father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and co-founder of the BCHR, has been on a prolonged hunger strike to protest his detention.

Abdulhadi, along with a number of key activists, remain imprisoned for leading pro-democracy rallies last year, despite a government-backed commission in November calling on all political prisoners to be released.

Bahrain was the scene of a number of large Arab Spring inspired protests last February, following the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Bahraini and Saudi troops violently suppressed the protests in March, but demonstrations have continued.

(Al-Akhbar)

 

https://twitter.com/#!/NABEELRAJAB

Immediate Release–New list of Enemies of the Internet


English: A map showing the level of Internet c...

Image via Wikipedia

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS

Beset by online surveillance and content filtering, netizens fight on

Eritrea is among the list of “countries under surveillance”

Read more on Eritrea on http://en.rsf.org/eritrea-eritrea-12-03-2012,42060.html

More information on the full report on 12mars.rsf.org

To mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, Reporters Without Borders is today releasing its new list of “Enemies of the Internet” and “countries under surveillance.” This report updates the list released in 2011.

Two countries, Bahrain and Belarus, have passed from the “countries under surveillance” to the “Enemies of the Internet” category. Venezuela and Libya have been dropped from the “under surveillance” category while India and Kazakhstan have been added to it.

“The changes in this list reflect recent developments in online freedom of information,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Netizens have been at the heart of political changes in the Arab world in 2011. Like journalists, they have tried to resist censorship but have paid a high price.

“Last year will be remembered as one of unprecedented violence against netizens. Five were killed while engaged in reporting activity. Nearly 200 arrests of bloggers and netizens were reported in 2011, a 30 per cent increase on 2010. These unprecedented figures risk being exceeded in 2012 as a result of the indiscriminate violence being used by the Syrian authorities in particular. More than 120 netizens are currently detained.

“On World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, we pay tribute to the ordinary citizens who often risk their lives or their freedom to keep us informed and to ensure that often brutal crackdowns do not take place without the outside world knowing.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “As online censorship and content filtering continue to accentuate the Internet’s division and digital segregation, solidarity among those who defend a free Internet accessible to all is more essential than ever in order to maintain channels of communication between netizens and to ensure that information continues to circulate.”

Social networks and netizens versus filtering and surveillance

The last report, released in March 2011, highlighted the fact that the Internet and online social networks had been conclusively established as tools for organizing protests and circulating information in the course of the Arab world’s mass uprisings. In the months that followed, repressive regimes responded with tougher measures to what they regarded as unacceptable attempts to destabilize their authority.

At the same time, supposedly democratic countries continue to set a bad example by yielding to the temptation to put security above other concerns and by adopting disproportionate measures to protect copyright. Technical service providers are under increasing pressure to act as Internet cops. Companies specializing in online surveillance are becoming the new mercenaries in an online arms race. Hactivists are providing technical expertise to netizens trapped by repressive regimes. Diplomats are getting involved. More than ever before, online freedom of expression is now a major foreign and domestic policy issue.

Two new Enemies of the Internet – Bahrain and Belarus

Bahrain and Belarus have joined Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam in the “Enemies of the Internet” category. These countries combine often drastic content filtering with access restrictions, tracking of cyber-dissidents and online propaganda.

Bahrain offers an example of an effective news blackout based a remarkable array of repressive measures: keeping the international media away, harassing human rights activists, arresting bloggers and netizens (one of whom died in detention), smearing and prosecuting free speech activists, and disrupting communications, especially during major demonstrations.

As Belarus sinks further into political isolation and economic stagnation, President Lukashenko’s regime has lashed out at the Internet in response to an attempted “revolution via the social media.” The Internet was blocked during a series of “silent protests,” the list of inaccessible websites grew longer and some sites were the victims of cyber-attacks. Internet users and bloggers were arrested or invited to “preventive conversations” with the police in a bid to get them to stop demonstrating or covering demonstrations. And Law No. 317-3, which took effect on 6 January 2012, gave the regime additional Internet surveillance and control powers.

India and Kazakhstan added to “under surveillance” list

Since the Mumbai bombings of 2008, the Indian authorities have stepped up Internet surveillance and pressure on technical service providers, while publicly rejecting accusations of censorship. The national security policy of the world’s biggest democracy is undermining online freedom of expression and the protection of Internet users’ personal data.

Kazakhstan, which likes to think of itself as a regional model after holding the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010, nonetheless seems to be turning its back on all its fine promises in order to take the road of cyber-censorship. An unprecedented oil workers strike helped to increase government tension in 2011 and led to greater control of information. The authorities blocked news websites, cut communications around the city of Zhanaozen during unrest, and imposed new, repressive Internet regulations.

Venezuela and Libya dropped from “under surveillance” list

In Libya, many challenges remain but the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime has ended an era of censorship. Before his removal and death, Col. Gaddafi had tried to impose a news blackout by cutting access to the Internet.

In Venezuela, access to the Internet continues to be unrestricted. The level of self-censorship is hard to evaluate but the adoption in 2011 of legislation that could potentially limit Internet freedom has yet to have any damaging effect in practice. Reporters Without Borders will nonetheless remain vigilant as relations between the government and critical media are tense.

Thailand and Burma may be about to change places

If Thailand continues further down the slope of content filtering and jailing netizens on lèse-majesté charges, it could soon find itself transferred from the “under surveillance” category to the club of the world’s most repressive countries as regards online freedom.

Burma, on the other hand, could soon leave the “Enemies of the Internet” list if takes the necessary measures. It has embarked on a promising period of reforms that have included freeing journalists and bloggers and restoring access to blocked websites. It must now go further by abandoning censorship altogether, releasing the journalists and bloggers still held, dismantling the Internet surveillance apparatus and repealing the Electronics Act.

Other subjects of concern

Other countries have jailed netizens or established a form of Internet censorship. They include Pakistan, which recently invited bids for a national Internet filtering system that would create an Electronic Great Wall. Even if they are not on these lists, Reporters Without Borders will continue to closely monitor online freedom of information in countries such as Azerbaijan, Morocco and Tajikistan.

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,228 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,846,055 hits

Archives

July 2021
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  
%d bloggers like this: