Since February 2011, the government of Bahrain’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters has seen a mass of politically motivated arbitrary arrests, resulting in over 3800 prisoners of conscience. According to Amnesty International: A prisoner of conscience is anyone who has “been jailed for their political, religious or other conscientiously-held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, color, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status, provided that they have neither used nor advocated violence” .
In Bahrain, the government has consistently used legislation on terrorism to cover a wider purview that equates political dissent with terrorism, allowing activities associated with freedom of expression, association and opinon to be punishable by law. This has resulted in the arbitrary detention of doctors, teachers, lawyers, religious clerics, human rights defenders and political activists. In May 2014, Human Rights Watch released a report criticizing the administration of criminal cases in Bahrain, pointing to the country as a ‘system of injustice’.
For this reason, the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy is pleased to announce the launch of a joint-campaign together with Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, aimed at raising awareness for Bahrain’s prisoners of conscience.
Each month, BIRD, ADHRB and BCHR will highlight a Bahrain ‘Champion for Justice’. BIRD and its partners will then take action at the UK parliament and at the international level to call attention to these individual cases and to demand the release of all political prisoners in Bahrain.