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.
Nabeel Rajab was released from prison today on a non-custodial sentence; His release was due for 2023 upon completion of his 7 year sentence; His release appears to be linked to the... Read more
3 June 2020 – On Monday, the trial of Bahraini refugee and photojournalist Moosa Mohammed on charges of aggravated trespass on a diplomatic premises was adjourned at Westminster Magist... Read more
12 May 2020 – On Saturday, Bahrain’s government forced the cancellation of an online symposium featuring speakers opposed to the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the Gulf State... Read more
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