BCHR: Bahrain Judiciary against Human Rights

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights notes with growing concern the mounting number of attacks on freedom of expression in the country.

Prominent and popular Bahraini ‘blogfather’ Mahmood Al Yousif was yesterday charged BD 500 (US$1,325) bail as part of proceedings involving a libel suit brought against him by Minister of Municipalities and Agriculture,. (please see http://mahmood.tv/2007/02/07/interrogated/) The BCHR notes with concern the use of the judicial system as a means to bring pressure against Political,Human Rights activists and individuals exercising their right to peaceful freedom of expression.

In an increasingly repressive atmosphere, Bahrain has already witnessed death threats against a woman who spoke out against Sharia Judicial courts and the Interior Ministry, the jailing of two citizens found distributing leaflets calling for a boycott of national elections, the arrest of BCHR president Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and Haq Movement secretary general Hassan Mushaima for criticizing the government, and violent attacks by Special Security Forces on peaceful demonstrations.

We once again urge the government to live up to the standards set by the United Nations Human Rights Council, to which it was elected last year.

“Peaceful expression is both a fundamental freedom and human right,” BCHR vice president Nabeel Rajab said. “We call on elected public figures and the Bahraini government to work to protect and uphold this right. “By entertaining this libel suit, and bringing Mr Al Yousif for interrogation, the government is allowing institutions such as the Public Prosecution and the judiciary to be used to silence critics.”

BCHR :: 9 Feb, ’07

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