Friday, November 06, 2015
Bahraini Media People Arrested and Detained (as of 2/11/2015)
Here is a list of journalists, photographers and social media people currently detained in Bahrain (as of 2 November 2015), based on what we found online. Given the vague information we have at the moment, every comment or feedback would be highly appreciated.
Journalists and Photographers
Ahmed Humaidan, an award-winning photojournalist, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for reporting and photographing the pro-democracy demonstrations in Sitra in 2012. He has been incarcerated since December 2012, accused of taking part in an attack on a police station.
Jaffar Marhoon, photographer, was arrested on 26 December 2013. On 24 February 2015, the court sentenced Jaffar to life in prison.
Hussain Hubail, a freelance photographer, was arrested before boarding an international flight to Dubai on 31 July 2013. On 28 April 2014, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison under charges that include “using social media networks to incite hatred on the government”, “calling on people to ignore the law” and “calling for illegal demonstrations”.
Qasim ZainalDeen, a freelance photographer who had filmed opposition protests, was arrested from his home on 2 August 2013 and sentenced in December the same year to three months in prison for illegal assembly. In January 2014, he was sentenced to an additional six months imprisonment for a further charge of illegal assembly and vandalism. On 25 February 2015, the court of appeal upheld Qasim’s sentence of three years in prison.
On 4 September 2014, three journalists, Hussam Suroor (17 years), Ahmed Zainaldeen (20 years) and Mustafa Rabea (19 years), were arrested after their houses in Duraz were raided by security forces. They were subjected to enforced disappearance for up to five days following arrest. On 30 September 2015, the three journalists were sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegal assembly and for causing an explosion in Duraz. Ahmed Zainaldeen is awaiting court ruling in a separate case.
On 28 June 2015, the political activist Fadhel Abbas was sentenced to 5 years in prison for a tweet in which he denounced the war in Yemen, as he was accused of “spreading false information that could harm the military operations of Bahrain and its allies” in Yemen.
In December 2014 the main Shia opposition leader in Bahrain, Sheikh Ali Salman, has been jailed for four years for inciting hatred, promoting disobedience and “insulting” public institutions. The charges relate to a series of statements by Sheikh Salman made in a public speech last year.
Bloggers and Internet Activists
Abduljalil al-Singace, a Bahraini engineer, blogger and human rights activist, was arrested in 2011, and sentenced to life imprisonment for pro-democracy activism during the Bahraini uprising.
Jaleela al-Sayed was arrested on 10 February 2015 after security forces raided her house. She was charged with misusing social media, inciting hatred against the government and insulting the king on the social media website Twitter. Jaleela is currently held at the Isa Town Women’s Prison.
Blogger and Internet activist Ali Al-Mearaj was arrested on 6 January 2014 accused of misusing information technology and insulting the King in his blog “Awal Pearl”. On 9 April 2014, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison. His next appeal hearing is on 1 December 2015.
Jassim Al-Nuaimi, an Internet activist, was apprehended from his own house by masked security men on 31 July 2013. Four days after his arrest, he was sent to prison under the charges of inciting anti-government hatred and posting messages on social media calling for illegal demonstrations. During a hearing he testified he was not present in the country and that he had already sold his computer by the time the alleged messages were posted. On 28 April 2014, the criminal court sentenced Jassim to five years in prison.
In October 2015, security forces raided the house of Ebrahim Karimi. He was taken to the Criminal Investigation Directorate. Security forces interrogated Ebrahim about posts on the Twitter handler “FreejKarimi”. The public prosecution charged Ebrahim with, among others, inciting hatred against the government, insulting the king and misuse of social media. In 2012, the Government of Bahrain had revoked the citizenship of Ebrahim through an administrative decision and the court ordered him later to deportation which he is appealing.
In September 2015, security forces arrested two Internet activists, the owner of the Twitter handlers “BuKhamis” and “HajiAhmed”. The Ministry of Interior announced that it had arrested them because of posts on Twitter deemed insulting to the country’s martyrs in Yemen, after they posted tweets in which they denounced and criticized Bahrain’s participation in the military operation in Yemen.
In January 2015, the Bahraini authorities arrested nine Internet activists for their posts on Twitter deemed critical of the late Saudi King Abdulla Alsaud. These men are: Mohammed Saeed Al Adraj, Mohammed Ahmed Ali, Yousif Fadhel Salman, Abas Ali Ahmed, Kameel Ibrahim Yousif, and Hussain Mohammed Ahmed. The Ministry of Interior stated that these individuals were arrested for “misuse of social media” and that they could face an imprisonment term of up to two years or a fine of up to BHD200 according to article 215 of Bahrain’s Penal Code which punishes with these terms whoever “offends in public a foreign country or an international organization based in Bahrain or its president or representative. The same penalty shall apply to a person who offends such organization’s flag or official emblem”.
In January 2015, the Government of Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 72 Bahrainis, of whom the majority were activists, on grounds of damaging national security. The list included four journalists and bloggers. They are: the founder of BahrainOnline forum, Ali Abdel Imam; founder and chief editor of Bahrain Mirror, Ali al-Dairi; journalist Abbas Busafwan; and blogger Hussein Yousef. The authorities stated that their citizenship was revoked because of “acts resulted in harming the Kingdom’s interest”, thus the measures were implemented in part to “preserve security and stability and fight the danger of terrorist threats”. It is the largest number of Bahrainis to be stripped of their nationality since 2013.