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.
17 April 2020 – Yesterday, BIRD Director of Advocacy Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei was awarded an Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for his tireless campaigning for human rights i... Read more
6 April 2020, Beirut – Amid the global threat posed by COVID-19, Bahraini authorities should release human rights defenders, opposition activists, journalists and all others imprisoned... Read more
TIMELINE OF THE CRISIS: 5 March: 62 year old Bahraini Hasan Mansoor Hasan becomes first Bahraini to die in Iran since the crisis began. 6 March: King Hamed instructs Shi’a Jafari Endowments... Read more
18 March 2020 – Bahrain has released a significant proportion of its prison population amid rising panic over the spread of Coronavirus, but prominent political leaders and human right... Read more
10 March 2020 – Political prisoner Ali AlHajee wrote a letter marking the mass beatings of prisoners that took place on this day five years ago in Jau Prison, recounting the three mont... Read more
5 March 2020 – Hajer Mansoor, mother-in-law of London-based human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, was released from prison in Bahrain today after completing a three year sentence... Read more
20 February 2020 – Today, The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) launched its 2020 Annual Report to mark the ninth anniversary of the Bahraini Uprising. BIRD’s inaugur... Read more
17 February 2020 – Last week, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) organized an event at Parliament to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the Bahraini revolution. The... Read more
17 February 2020 – 8 UN Special Rapporteurs have expressed “grave concern” about the mistreatment of political prisoners Hajer Mansoor, Medina Ali and Nabeel Rajab in Bahraini detentio... Read more
13 February 2020- Yesterday, Lord Paul Scriven and Peers criticised the inefficacy and lack of transparency surrounding the UK government’s technical assistance program to Bahrain in oral qu... Read more