I received a summons yesterday delivered to my home instructing me to present myself at the High Criminal Court next Tuesday (17 April 2007) charged under both the Penal Code (3/92, 364, 365) and the Press & Publications Law 47/2002 (3/4, 72, 77) in the defamation case brought against me by a sitting minister; H. E. Mansour Hassan bin Rajab, the Minister of Agricultural Affairs and Municipalities relating to my criticism of his public figure and that of his ministry for lackadaisical performance in executing their duties.
I am grateful for the various mediation efforts enacted on my behalf which have gained the Minister’s assurances – twice – that he would drop the case; however, unfortunately this obviously has not happened.
I am very grateful for the tremendous support I have received from Bahraini and international journalists and friends in this regard. They not only promise to be present at the trial in a show of solidarity, but the Bahrain Journalists’ Association specifically have appointed Ms. Fatima Al-Hawaj to take up the defence of the case on my behalf.
I have also received and continue to receive the unstinting support from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights as well as the Bahrain Human Rights Society. I truly appreciate their advice and their support.
I am convinced that I did no wrong. I have portrayed my criticism squarely at a public figure and a government organ both of whom I think did not execute their job to the full extent of their capability. This case is nothing more than a scare tactic to silence any form of criticism, especially that of a public official. Why else is a case like this is to be heard at the highest criminal court in the land? Why else is a defamation case looked at in the same court that adjudicates murder and treason cases?
I believe in our constitution, and believe in the human right of free speech and expression. I know that with your support I can go through this.
If you wish, you can show your support by writing about this case and you are more than welcome to be present at the court next Tuesday morning to show your support.
For background information about this case, please use the following link:
and full press coverage (so far) at:
A higher resolution image of the attached document (for publication) is available at:
Penal Code articles 364 and 365:
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Press & Publications Law 47/200 articles:
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