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.
24 May 2017 – Five were killed yesterday as Bahraini police used tear gas and shotguns to repress a peaceful sit-in around the home of leading Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim in Duraz. Bahrain... Read more
Ahead of the trial of Sheikh Isa Qassim on Sunday 7 May 2017, BIRD and five other NGOs wrote today to the United Kingdom, European Union, United States and United Nations calling for urgent... Read more
3 May 2017 – Press freedoms continue to diminish in Bahrain. The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy marks World Press Freedom Day with a review of the challenges facing Bahrain... Read more
26 April 2017 – Bahraini authorities have initiated a new campaign of reprisals against political activists, human rights defenders, and other civil society actors ahead of the kingdom’s thi... Read more
BIRD alongside 15 NGOs today wrote to King Hamad of Bahrain calling for the release of imprisoned photojournalist Sayed Ahmed Al-Musawi and the respect of freedom of expression and the press... Read more
24 March 2017 – Mustafa Hamdan, 18, died this morning at the Salmaniya Medical Complex, two months after security forces shot him in head and rendered him comatose. We, the undersigned... Read more
20 March 2017 – Political opposition leader Ebrahim Sharif was today charged with “inciting hatred against the regime” under article 165 of Bahrain’s penal code for m... Read more
6 March 2017 – The Government of Bahrain has today launched legal proceedings to dissolve Wa’ad, the country’s leading secular, leftist opposition society. The move follows the government’s... Read more
21 February 2017 – This morning, the Government of Bahrain again postponed the two trials of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. Bahrain courts have brought two cases against Rajab for... Read more