10 August 2019 – Political prisoner Najah Yusuf – who is serving a 3 year prison sentence under charges concerning social media posts critical of the Formula One Grand Prix – has been pardoned and released, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said today.
This morning we received a phone call from Isa Town Prison in Bahrain confirming the release of activist Najah Yusuf who has been pardoned; a unique concession made on the occasion of Eid Aladha. She is one of the very few political prisoners, if not the first ever since 2011, to be released during the Eid celebrations, since the kingdom uses Eid celebrations to pardon prisoners.
BIRD lead an international campaign to secure Ms Yusuf’s release. The campaign peaked during Bahrain’s Grand Prix this March 2019, with calls on Formula One to leverage the Bahraini government in order to secure her release. In March, the Guardian published an OpEd by Ms Yusuf entitled ‘Every moment I spend in prison in Bahrain stains the reputation of Formula One’.
Commenting, the Director of Advocacy, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said: “This is a monumental result for those who tirelessly campaigned to secure Najah’s release. Najah Yusuf is a fearless woman who bravely spoke out about the abuse she was subjected to at the hands of the Bahraini security apparatus. She should not have spent one second in prison, and must now be fully compensated for her unlawful imprisonment. Bahrain must also release all other political prisoners who are being held in violation of their most basic human rights.”
There are currently 6 female political prisoners in Isa Town prison. Among them is Hajer Mansoor who has been declared arbitrarily and unlawfully imprisoned by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
Najah is among 105 other inmates released today.