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.
12 July 2016 – The High Criminal Court today postponed the trial of prominent Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, President of Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), to 2 August 2016.... Read more
11 July 2016 – Tomorrow, 12 July 2016, the trial of the prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab begins. Facing charges related to comments on the social media website Twitter, Raj... Read more
31 May 2016 – Bahrain released human rights defender Zainab Al-Khawaja from prison today. The release comes nearly two months after the Government of Bahrain promised her freedom, in a... Read more
Manama – 30 May 2016, the Bahraini Court of Appeal toughened the sentence against Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary-General of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, to nine years in prison, in... Read more
24 February 2016 – Bahrain’s fourth criminal court today sentenced leading opposition leader Ebrahim Sharif to one year in prison for allegedly “inciting hatred against the regime”. We... Read more
22 February 2016 – The Bahraini authorities deported Sheikh Mohammed Hasan Ali Husain (Khojasta) following the court of appeal’s decision. Sheikh Khojasta is one of the more than 100 B... Read more
16 February 2016 – Sunday, 14 February 2016, marked the fifth anniversary of Bahrain’s peaceful uprising. Bahraini people took to the streets protesting injustice and demanding freedom... Read more
On 3 February 2016, a Bahraini court upheld photographer Ahmed al-Fardan’s three-month prison sentence on charges of “attempting” to protest. We condemn the Bahraini authorities’ conti... Read more