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.
21 February 2018 – Today, the Bahrain High Criminal Court sentenced leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to five years imprisonment for expressing critical comments on social med... Read more
20 February 2018 – 25 members of the UK Parliament wrote to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson today, urging him to publicly call for the release of leading rights defender Nabeel Rajab and to... Read more
18 November – The United States Department of State (DoS) yesterday raised its “major concern” over the treatment of the imprisoned relatives of UK-based human rights defender Sayed Ah... Read more
26 October 2017 – A Bahraini appeals court has today upheld the dissolution of Bahraini opposition society Wa’ad and the confiscation of its assets. Wa’ad was dissolved following... Read more
The following statement was delivered by ARTICLE 19 and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council, as part of the Item 6 Debate on the a... Read more
* Yusuf Al-Jamri made a plea to King Hamad about the torture he suffered at the hands of the National Security Agency on Thursday 3 August * Immediately afterwards, the NSA summoned him for... Read more
8 June 2017 – Top press freedom organisations and local Bahraini groups are among fifteen rights groups and campaigners who today raised alarm over the suspension of Bahrain’s on... Read more
Today, a coalition of five human rights organizations expressed grave concern over the lack of due process rights and inhumane treatment of Khalil Al-Halwachi, a Bahraini scholar of engineer... Read more
31 May 2017 – Bahraini opposition society Wa’ad has been dissolved today and its property confiscated by court order following proceedings filed by the Bahraini Ministry of Justi... Read more
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