Please sign the petition to release the Bahraini prisoners of conscience

20 Jan, '07

Dr Mohammed Saeed, Bahraini detainee of conscience

A letter is being sent to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa petitioning his majesty to stand with the freedoms of expression guarantees by his constitution and to release the two prisoners of conscience: Dr. Mohammed Saeed and Hussain Abdulaziz.

Both gentlemen are being accused of a plethora of traitorous offenses which could land them in prison for a long time and ruin their chances of ever becoming productive and patriotic elements of the Bahraini society, simply for voicing their opinions as guaranteed by human rights declarations and our constitution.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Voltaire

Regardless of how we stand ourselves on political issues, we must recognise, accept and support the right of others to voice their points of view even if we do not agree with them. Throwing people in prison for voicing their opinions only aggravates and already very tenuous situation, rather than ameliorate passions and support voices of reason to find ways out of bottlenecks.

Please do read the petition and sign your name if you wish. Everyone’s support is valuable. I hope the right thing is done in this situation by releasing the detainees. We need good news in this country for a change.

Release Mohammed and Hussain please!

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Comments (14)

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  1. sohail says:

    but why only they caught them was it that they were planning to distribue flyers against the elections and country if so other wise i think sign the petition i will i will but will it help :unsure: :unsure:

  2. M says:

    Will do; Thanks for speaking out and voicing support, Mahmood.

  3. Yaman says:

    I will sign. Also, I think somebody should take the time to create a profile for these two men on AELME.org… if no one is able, then I will later.

  4. Thogba says:

    Thank you Mahmood.

  5. lizardo says:

    thanx mahmood . me did it

  6. Anonymous says:

    You can’t be serious?!!!

    When the rule of law is as leniant as ours is, people run around doing what they want. A few days behind bars will do them both good if you ask me..

    They’ll probably be pardoned, just like the rest of them lot who treat freedom of expression to be whatever they want it to be, as if nobody else on the island exists to differ…

  7. mahmood says:

    The issue is not whether they will be pardoned, the issue rather is the continuous attempt of the government not only to suppress freedoms, but threaten anyone who dares to hold a differing view with incarceration and psychological or physical violence or both. Why else would they be thrown in prison simply for holing a political view?

    As to your “A few days behind bars will do them both good if you ask me..” I beg to differ and I’m not asking you. I wonder how you would react if you or one of your family gets thrown in prison for a politically held belief. Would you again smugly restate that advice?

  8. Anonymous says:

    To answer your question; If the material they were responsible for distributing was of an abusive nature, or encouraged racism, social prejudice, sectarian divide or incited hatred within our society, I’d say “To hell with the lot of them”.

    If our people do not learn to mend matters by working within the system, they are portraying an attitude of “My way or the highway”, a very undemocratic ideology for those who seek reform.

    Those who do encourage social frustration or cause it, aren’t doing us any good in the long run. Everybody would be at each others neck demanding rights, they see acceptable to their own utopian standards.

    We have to learn to be civil if we expect civil society to bloom..

  9. mahmood says:

    If the material they were responsible for distributing was of an abusive nature, or encouraged racism, social prejudice, sectarian divide or incited hatred within our society, I’d say “To hell with the lot of them”.

    Except that the material they duplicated was a political opinion encouraging people not to participate in the elections. They subscribe to that point of view and it is their full right to do so. If we do not agree with that view, then an intellectual engagement is in order, not imprisonment.

    Now for your list, they do apply to a number of elected members of parliament, yet, nothing is done against them.

    Double standards or selectively applying the law, assuming of course that the two gentlemen in question are implicated within the list of offences you have, rather than holding a valid political idea.

    For the record, I agree with you and your list, but I say that those offences do not apply to Mohammed and Hussain.

  10. Butterfly says:

    I hope that nobody will misunderstand me here, but yes I do agree with anonymous.

    I don’t really encourage the high dosage of “Pardon” for everyhting and anything. I don’t also encourage the double standards practised by the government.

  11. mahmood says:

    That’s fine and that’s completely your prerogative Butterfly.

    However, let me draw your attention to the core of the issue: those two were apprehended due to their political thinking, not for acts of terrorism, not for burglary, not for killing, not for any other sort of crime but that of practicing their basic human right of free speech.

    I agree with you regarding the plethora of pardons and that should stop and only be practiced within the law.

    Let me put it another way to you, maybe that will explain the position a bit better: a few weeks ago we read that someone was caught with an illegal cache of live ammunition and firearms; he was held in custody pending an investigation for 8 days and then released on bail pending the trial.

    Yet, we have these two STILL in prison since November for pamphlets!

    Forget about the justice aspect of these two cases and tell me, to your mind, is this right?

  12. Morgleman says:

    An Open Letter to His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

    Re:- Dr M. Al Sahlawi and Mr. H. Al Hebshi :- Political Detainees

    Dear King Hamad,

    I find it incredible that, in spite of all international guidance on good governance and the continuing scrutiny of Bahrain’s governance by international observers and commentators, you continue to allow your administration to use your Criminal Justice System as a family tool to obtain judgments favorable to the wishes of the Ruling Council.

    Detaining the above two individuals, subjecting them to solitary confinement with the prospect of a long prison sentence after another “Kangaroo Court, simply for disseminating an opinion that the forthcoming elections should be boycotted, shows that your administration has learnt nothing from it’s past mistakes, which include the beatings and ill-treatment of senior people in Bahrain Human Rights organizations.

    You have to get these and other dissenters “on board”, talk to them, listen to their grievances and do something fundamental about it.

    History is littered with the ruins of Rulers and Governments that did not listen to the will of the people.

    It may take some time, but your own Nemesis is written by history if you do not change direction and stop persecuting and prosecuting everyone that doesn’t agree with the way you are doing things in Bahrain.

    In the meantime, these detentions are reinforcing to people, worldwide, that Bahrain continues to use the current international climate to maintain the status quo without any real substance to real political freedom of expression and disagreement.

    It’s all smoke and mirrors.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bahrain jails political activists

    31 January 2007

    MANAMA – A court in Bahrain on Wednesday sent two political activists to jail for possessing leaflets calling for a boycott of recent legislative elections, their lawyer said.

    Mohammed Saeed Al Sahlawi, a dentist, received a one-year jail sentence while insurance executive Hussein al Hibshi was sentenced to six months in prison, lawyer Mohammed Ahmad told AFP.

    “This ruling is unfair and illogical. It bypassed the defence argument… that the defendants were only exercising their right to free expression and that the material seized in their possession stressed the need to abide by peaceful means in expressing views,” Ahmad said.

    “We have no choice but to appeal the ruling,” the lawyer added.

    New York-based Human Rights Watch had on Tuesday urged Bahrain to drop the charges against the two political activists, who went on trial on January 7 on charges of possessing unlicensed leaflets ”containing inflammatory material and false information.”

    The pair were arrested last November 16 after being found with leaflets that called for a boycott of the November 25 legislative polls.

    They were charged under articles of Bahrain’s penal code which ”criminalise the dissemination and possession of materials that could “damage the public interest’,” HRW said.

    The Shiite-led opposition won control of more than 40 percent of seats in parliament, which however has to share its legislative powers with an upper chamber appointed by the king.

    The arrangement prompted a boycott of 2002 polls, the first since the parliament was scrapped in 1975. Some of Bahrain’s opposition kept up the boycott because demands for constitutional changes were not met.

    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2007/January/middleeast_January359.xml&section=middleeast&col=

  14. mahmood says:

    thanks for the heads up, promoted to the front page.

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