BJA condemns minister’s reneging on an agreement to drop case against blogger

Post updated at 21:25 on 13 Feb, ’07 with English translation by me of the Bahrain Journalists Association’s press release.

The Bahrain Journalists Association has just released a strongly worded press release in which it condemned the minister of municipalities and agriculture’s reneging on an agreement in which I have fully fulfilled.

My thanks go to Adel Marzooq who has been a pillar of support and mediation. I wish to thank him publicly for all of his efforts.

نستنكر إخلال وزير شئون البلديات بإتفاقية سحب الإدعاء ضد البلوغر محمود اليوسف

عادل مرزوق : نتضامن مع اليوسف وسندعو الصحافيين للإحتشاد في يوم المحاكمة

الجفير – جمعية الصحافيين البحرينية

صرح نائب رئيس جمعية الصحافيين البحرينية عادل مرزوق أنه قام بوساطة غير رسمية – وبموافقة من مجلس إدارة جمعية الصحافيين البحرينية – بين وزير شئون البلديات والزراعة منصور بن رجب والبلوغر محمود اليوسف فيما يتعلق بالدعوى التي قدمها الوزير للنيابة العامة ضد اليوسف.

وأكد مرزوق أن إتفاق المصالحة الذي توسطت فيه الجمعية كان يقتضي أن يقوم الأخير بحذف بعض الكلمات من التقرير الذي نشره في مدونته باللغة الإنجليزية على أن يقوم الوزير بسحب الدعوى من النيابة العامة بعد ذلك.

وأكد مرزوق أنه أجرى بعض الاتصالات التي أجراها مع الوزير والبلوغر محمود اليوسف ووسيط آخر من طرف الوزير. وأكد ان اليوسف إلتزم ببنود المصالحة وقام فعلاً بحذف الكلمات مثار “الجدل” إلا أن الوزير رفض – بحسب الوسيط – التنازل متذرعاً بضرورة بضرورة حذف التعليقات على الموضوع. وهو ما أعتبره مرزوق “تصرفاً غريباً” من جانب الوزير ووسيطه، وأنها شروط لم تكن مدرجة ضمن الإتفاق الأولي.

هذا وأعلن مرزوق أنه يجري الآن بعض الاتصالات مع باقي مجلس إدارة جمعية الصحافيين من أجل توجيه دعوة رسمية لجميع الصحافيين المنتمين للجمعية للتضامن مع البلوغر محمود اليوسف في أولى جلسات المحاكمة في حال قامت النيابة العامة بتحويل القضية للقضاء معتبراً الدفاع عن اليوسف دعماً لحرية التعبير ووقوفاً في صف حرية الكلمة وضرورة التخفيف من حدية التحسس في نقد الشخصيات العامة.

وأشار نائب رئيس جمعية الصحافيين إلى أن الجمعية ستدرس الصفة القانونية في تبنيها الدفاع عن اليوسف في ضوء أنه ليس عضواً فيها، وأنه في حال موافقة مجلس الإدارة على ذلك فإنها – الجمعية – ستخاطب رسمياً شتى المنظمات الدولية والحقوقية المختصة لحثها على دعم اليوسف بشتى الطرق الممكنة.

We register our dismay due to the Minister of Municipal Affairs reneging on the agreement to withdraw the case against blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif

Adel Marzooq: We declare our solidarity with Al-Yousif and will call on all journalists to demonstrate [at the court house] when the court convenes to consider the case

Juffair – Bahrain Journalist Association

The vice president of the Bahrain Journalist Association Mr. Adel Marzooq issued a statement declaring that he acted as an unofficial mediator – with the full agreement of the Association’s board – between the Minister of Municipal and Agricultural Affairs Mansour bin Rajab and the blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif in the case lodged with the public prosecutor by the minister against Al-Yousif.

Marzooq affirmed that he did communicate with the minister, the blogger and another intermediary on the minister’s behalf. He confirmed that Al-Yousif did abide by the terms of the agreement fully and has indeed removed the “contentious” words, but the minister refused – according to the 2nd intermediary – to withdraw the case making further demands to remove the comments on the published article as well, which Marzooq considered as an “unwarranted behavior” by the minister and his mediator, and that these conditions were never part of the original agreement.

Marzooq further declared that he communicated with members of the Association’s board to officially request all affiliated journalists to offer their solidarity with Al-Yousif when the court convenes to consider this case in support of the freedom of expression and resolutely stand with the freedom of speech and urge public figures to reduce their sensitivity to criticism.

The vice president of the Bahrain Journalists Association said that the Association will study the legality of adopting the defence of Al-Yousif in light of his not being a member of the Association. In the event of the board’s agreement, the Association will communicate with a multitude of concerned international and legal bodies and ask them to offer their support to Al-Yousif in any way they can.

  • Butterfly
    13 February 2007

    What a stupid excuse! He proved that he is idiot.

    Even if you delete all the comments in your blog, you can’t stop any blogger from writing about the same story again in his blog. May be he think you should design a special filter that remove any comment against his excellency.

    How can anyone hold you accountable for other people’s opinion and action.

    Don’t bend or give up, he doesn’t have the right to control your blog.

  • Gibran
    13 February 2007

    can someone translate the arabic statement to english? curious to know what it says.

  • Ahmed
    13 February 2007

    You have my support, Mahmood.

  • Gibran
    14 February 2007

    thanks for the translation. will try highlight your case here.

  • anon
    14 February 2007

    hahahahaha a typical “bin rajab”… a backstabber!

    14 February 2007

    Now this Brainfart really craves a big kick in the butt.

  • Manzour
    14 February 2007

    Facts: Now, there is big difference between ‘negotiation process’ and ‘negotiated deal’. Only a negotiated “deal” can be reneged upon. To be a deal, the thing has to be signed, sealed and delivered. In this case as reported here, there was not a deal, per se. soOpinion: the minister was smart. He applied the Binbella principle, i.e. take and negotiate for more.

    Wisedom: Never put yourself to be stuggling uphill in negotiations. Only in sports is it any good for your heart.

  • Bandargate
    14 February 2007

    I don’t think it’s a very bad idea to reconsider an agreement. If removing one or 2 “bad” comments will end this hassle, why not Mahmood?
    I think the agreement was going very well until the release of this strongly worded press. I do encourage Mr. Marzooq to continue his good mediation efforts instead of raising the tension. As it’s said in our tradition, there are two ways to manage a strong wind: to face it or bend and let it pass away. I recommend the 2nd choice here. Of course we will still remain supportive to you in whatever course you decide.

  • mahmood
    14 February 2007

    Bandargate, thank you. I am amenable to a settlement as I have been from the start. I do believe that one should give peaceful resolutions every chance to succeed.

    It is unfortunate that the Minister did not see it this way and interpreted this as a sign of weakness, he is probably also at the illusion that he might actually win this case.

    To him, even if he does, it will be nothing more than a Pyhrric victory which will be at the expense of his own standing and reputation.

    This is really not against me and never was, he wants to silence any criticism on his good person. This is nothing less than a full scale attack on the freedom of expression.

    It is rather ironic that he chose the month on which the 6th anniversary of our very own Bill of Rights (the Charter) was created.

  • Bandargate
    14 February 2007

    the thing has to be signed, sealed and delivered

    I have to dissagree with you Manzour. A deal is a deal even if it is a verbal one. You don’t have to sign it or seal it. The only thing needed is to be “delivered” and this has been fulfilled verbally. A verbal agreement is legal according to the Common Law. Besides, it’s not good for the image of a minister to break deals.

  • Butterfly
    14 February 2007

    I do agree with Bandergate. I worked on contracts/agreements for seven years and out of my experience I can assure you that verbal agreement are considered by law as legal contract.

  • Butterfly
    14 February 2007

    are = is


  • Kiwi Nomad
    14 February 2007

    Love the red gag!

    The more publicity that is generated the more Mansour bin Rajab paints himself into a corner…

  • mahmood
    14 February 2007

    It looks like I’ll be in Kuwait next week to be on KTV, shall I bring the gag with me? :devil:

  • Bernie
    14 February 2007

    Oh man, this kind of support is absolutely invaluable. Well done the journalists.

  • Anonymous
    15 February 2007

    mahmood use a bahraini flag as a gag; cause thats what our country stands for.

Libel case going ahead