Today, 21 December 2023, Bahrain office of public prosecution ordered the detention of leading political opposition figure Ebrahim Sharif for 7 days on charges related to his social media posts criticising Bahrain’s decision to participate in the US-led operation in the Red Sea, according to his family and lawyer.
The public prosecution ordered Mr Sharif’s detention for 7 days pending investigation for “spreading false news during wartime” and for “spreading false news.”
If officially charged, he will face up to 10-years imprisonment under Article 133 of the Bahrain Penal Code which states that “A punishment of imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years […] who deliberately announces in wartime false or malicious news, statements or rumours or mounts adverse publicity campaigns, so as to cause damage to military preparations for defending the State of Bahrain or military operations of the Armed Forces, to cause people to panic or to weaken the nation’s perseverance.”
He may also face a second charge under Article 134 of the Bahraini Penal Code, which entails “a punishment of imprisonment for at least 3 months and a fine of at least BD 100, or either penalty.”
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, advocacy director at Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said:
“The Bahraini government wants to make an example out of Ebrahim Sharif, who is not alone in his criticism of Bahrain’s decision to join the Americans.
Failure of the US administration to publicly denounce his arrest and push for his immediate release gives the green light to the Bahrain government to continue his detention.
If charged, he will face 10 years imprisonment on bogus claims. He exercised his right to freedom of expression and should be immediately released.
Every moment he spends in detention should shame the US and its coalition including the UK as their silence signals complicity in his imprisonment.”