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.
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
27 October 2016 – The Government of Bahrain yesterday decreased the sentence of Fadhel Abbas, former Secretary-General of the al-Wahdawi Political Society. Courts originally sentenced Abbas... Read more
26 October 2016 – Police arrested two activists protesting the meeting between Prime Minister Theresa May and King Hamad of Bahrain at 10 Downing Street today. Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Di... Read more
Press Release 14 October 2016 – Campaigners are calling on Prince Charles to cancel his upcoming visit to Bahrain in light of the country’s deteriorating situation, as a leading... Read more
10 October 2016 – Bahraini authorities arrested journalist and social media activist Faisal Hayyat yesterday after he was summoned over a tweet. The Public Prosecution today remanded H... Read more
6 October 2016 – A Bahraini high criminal court today postponed the sentencing of Nabeel Rajab to 31 October. No reason was provided for the postponement. The leading human rights defe... Read more