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.
28 November 2016 – 46 rights groups have written to the King of Bahrain urging that charges against sports journalist Faisal Hayyat be dropped. The letter, which has also been copied t... Read more
17 November 2016 – Rights groups today wrote to Prince Charles urging him to “publicly condemn” the prosecution of Ebrahim Sharif, a Bahraini politician facing charges afte... Read more
16 November 2016 – Women’s rights defender, writer and blogger Ghada Jamsheer remains in jail in Bahrain serving a combined ten-month sentence for exercising her right to free expressi... Read more
16 November 2016 – In the past few days, the Bahraini authorities have summoned at least 26 activists and human rights defenders for interrogations over charges of illegal gathering, i... Read more
15 November 2016 – The Government of Bahrain continues to deny adequate medical care to Bahraini activist and detainee Hussain Abdulwahab Hussain Ali Ismail. NGOs who have spoken to th... Read more
UPDATE: 15 November – The United States Department of State has called for the Government of Bahrain to drop all charges against Ebrahim Sharif, noting that that the Department has raised th... Read more
7 November 2016 – Prince Charles will tomorrow be in Bahrain for a four-day trip which has stirred controversy. The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), in a letter to th... Read more
3 November 2016 – Journalist Faisal Hayyat appeared in court today on charges related to a “defamatory” tweet. His sentencing was postponed to 29 November 2016. We, the und... Read more
31 October 2016 – Today, the High Criminal Court postponed the trial of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) to 15 Dece... Read more
25 human rights organizations have signed an urgent appeal letter to Ms Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice-Presid... Read more