The freedom of expression, assembly and association continues to be severely restricted in Bahrain, where human rights defenders, opposition activists and religious leaders face arrest and harassment for speaking out against the government. Both the 2002 Press Law and the 2006 Anti-Terrorism Law, exploiting the law’s broad definition of terrorism, are employed to target the media.
In the country’s most famous freedom of expression case, Nabeel Rajab is charged with criticising the government on social media, for publishing a letter in the New York Times, as well as for criticising the government in a televised interview.
Other high-profile cases of free expression and association include opposition acitivst Ebrahim Sharif, who is charged with “incitement to hatred and contempt of the regime”, Sheikh Ali Salman, who is charged for calling for change of the regime, and Zainab al-Khawaja, who is charged for tearing up a picture of the king.
After the government has partially suspended al-Wasat newspaper, Bahrain’s only independent newspaper, a free media in Bahrain is de facto non existent. Prior government harassment against al-Wasat encompassed intimidation and the prosecution of key staff, one of whom, Karim Kakhrawi, died under torture.
13 August 2019 – Yesterday, fourteen NGOs including BIRD, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) delivered a joint-letter to Amal Clooney urging her to speak out a... Read more
07 August 2019 – New evidence obtained by BIRD has emerged implicating Bahraini Embassy staff in the assault of a protester who had scaled the building on the eve of the execution of t... Read more
27 July 2019 – Last night, the Metropolitan Police broke down the door of the Bahrain Embassy in London to save a Bahraini dissident from assault from the embassy’s security staf... Read more
25 July 2019 – Yesterday, at the House of Lords’ afternoon session, Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Scriven asked about the government’s assessment of the human rights situation in Bahrain.... Read more
25 July 2019 – Political prisoner Ali AlHajee has issued a statement from Jau Prison in Bahrain calling on the international community to intervene on his behalf. In his statement, AlH... Read more
19 June 2019 – Yesterday, sixteen cross-party MPs and Peers, including Caroline Lucas, Layla Moran, Diana Johnson and Sir Peter Bottomley delivered a letter to the British Foreign Secr... Read more
12 June 2019 – Political prisoner Ali Al-Hajee issued a statement last week from Jau Prison describing the grave deterioration of prison conditions and the inhumane treatment he has be... Read more
7 June 2019 – Social media giant Twitter joined civil society in expressing its concern for the Bahraini government’s recent declaration that it will crack down on critical online post... Read more
7 June 2019 – The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) diminished the human rights deterioration in Bahrain in its 2018 report on human rights and democracy priorities, labelling it a... Read more
1 May 2019 – Yesterday, President Macron of France received King Hamad of Bahrain at the Palace Elysee in Paris. Following the meeting, palace staff released an official press release... Read more