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.
20 January 2015 – Today, a Bahraini court sentenced human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to six months in prison on a conviction related to a tweet he published in September 2014. Rajab was al... Read more
19 January 2015 – On 20 January, a verdict is expected in the trial of Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini activist and internationally recognized human rights defender. President of th... Read more
15 January 2015 – This week, 16 human rights organisations have written to 47 States to express grave concern ahead of a 20 January verdict in the trial of Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini... Read more
On 28 December 2014, Bahraini authorities arrested Shaikh Ali Salman, Secretary-General of Al-Wefaq Political Society. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Americans for Democracy for... Read more
On 5 December 2014, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced that a new defence arrangement will establish a permanent naval base for the United Kingdom in Bahrain. Americans f... Read more
On 22 November 2014, Bahrain’s citizens will be called to cast their votes for legislative and municipal elections. The elections will be the first to take place since the people of Bahrai... Read more
30 October 2014 – A Bahraini court has ruled that Nabeel Rajab will face criminal charges stemming from a single tweet in which both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense alle... Read more
28 October 2014, London – 13 Members of the UK Parliament encompassing both government and opposition parties have signed an open letter to the King of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Kha... Read more
London, 17 October 2014 Rights groups call on UK to press Bahrain to release human rights defenders Nine human rights organisations called on the British government on Friday to speak... Read more