Tag Archives law

Yellow Box Junctions – What are they good for?

yellowboxjunction-500

NOTHING!

Article 47 from Traffic Law of the year 1979

When the traffic stops or slows down in a way that may result in traffic confusion, the driver in spite of his right of the road or the green traffic light or any signal allowing him to pass must not enter a junction if he is going to stop when he reached there. Anybody having the right of road may give it up if the traffic necessitates it, in which case any other driver may not make use of this unless he is sure that he has been given the way.

Drivers should not enter the Yellow Box when other vehicle are preventing them from leaving, even if they have got a green lights [sic].
traffic.gov.bh

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Anyone want to comment on what the Traffic Department is good for? Anyone? Anyone?

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Social Affairs?

Mohammed Al-Maskati, head of the unlicenced BYSHRCan someone explain to me the role of the Ministry of Social Affairs please?

Is it put there to encourage social responsibility and enact programs which do good to the community, or is it to discourage such endeavors?

It certainly seems to be the latter than the former.

Take Mohammed Al-Maskati’s case for instance. The guy created and heads the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and has been quite active in that sphere, yet when he applied to the ministry to register his fledgling society he got refused. Their regulations apparently do not recognise any person below 18 to be of sound mind and body to be socially active, and the BYSHR has generated a lot of interest in that sector. The objection appears to extend to other intangibles, one of which is that Mohammed’s sin is to be directly related to the regime’s supreme undesirable Abdulhadi Al-Khowajah who happen to be the head of the disbanded BCHR. All in all, they seem to have taken offense at this kid meddling in the big boys’ sphere.

Regardless and notwithstanding the aforementioned, I still do not understand why anyone who wants to do good needs to seek express permission to do so in this country!

I don’t know what their motive is, but I’ll assume the best and think that they just don’t like competition.

In the mean time, I would like to express my full support to the BYSHR and affirm its right to exist and to do good by and for the community.

Hands off MoSA, you’re not doing this country any good by those unfair regulations you are trying to shove down the civil societies’ throats.

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It’s over

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I’m glad to inform you that the libel case levied against me by the minister of agricultural affairs and municipalities Mansour bin Rajab has officially been dropped this morning and the judge has accepted our joint signed document.

As such, I have removed the gag!

I’ll blog more about the whole experience at a later date, maybe even write a book, goodness knows I have enough material to fill a few pages up!

Thanks once again to everyone for your invaluable support especially to Adel Marzooq and Fatima Al-Hawaj for their tremendous unselfish efforts exerted on my behalf.

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Case Deferred

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We went to the court this morning with a number of people already present and offered their support. But due to the main judge’s family bereavement, for which I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali on the passing of his mother, the case has been administratively deferred to be heard on May 8th.

I would also like to sincerely thank everyone who was present and all of those who called, emailed and texted their support as well.

In particular I would like to thank the lead advocate Ms. Fatima Al-Hawaj and the legal team offered by the Bahrain Human Rights Society to assist Ms. Al-Hawaj in the case, Lawyers Nawaf Al-Sayed and Lo’ay Qarouni; Tawfiq Al-Rayyash, Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, the head of the Bahrain Journalists Union Mohammed Fadhel, journalists Mohammed Al-Sawwad from Al-Waqt (who was involved very recently in a similar case), Mohammed Aslam of the GDN, Mohammed Abbas of Reuters, Sandeep Singh Grewal from the Bahrain Tribune and Adel Al-Shaikh from Al-Wasat.

I would also like to sincerely thank my family who have always stood by me. My wife Frances, my brother Jamal and sister Maha as well as my children. I am sure that if my other siblings were in Bahrain they would have not hesitated an instant by being present to offer their support.

The legal team have asked for the case’s documents for their review and preparation, and we await the new court’s date to present our case before the High Criminal Court.

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Thoughts on tomorrow

Thank you all for your unstinting support. I truly appreciate it.

What I want to emphasize, if I may, this is not really a case against Mahmood Al-Yousif as much as it is a case against the tenets of the freedom of expression.

We, the people, should not be cowed into a status of never questioning or criticising a government official no matter how high that position is. They have to realise themselves, or be made to realise that the positions they occupy being called “civil servants” is no accident of nomenclature, but fact.

Unfortunately, both the Penal Code and the Press & Publications Law specifically not only discourages this civic responsibility of criticism, but glaringly criminalise it!

Is it any wonder that these very officials have risen within their own spheres to a status of demi-gods, inviolate, unapproachable and completely disconnected with the very people they are sworn to serve?

Parliament, on the other hand, continues to prevaricate and hasn’t even scheduled discussions on a retooled Press & Publications law which will elevate freedoms of expression in all its forms, concerning themselves more with perceived sorcerers and witches!

No, this is not a case against Mahmood Al-Yousif and never was. What I have written is rather mild when you consider it. This is a case purposefully levied to silence criticism.

Today it is me. Tomorrow it is everyone who dares to even glance “wrongly” at a public official, even if that official happens to be a janitor.

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Libel case to be heard in the High Criminal Court!

bin Rajab vs Al-Yousif High Criminal Court summons

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:
http://mahmood.tv/tag/bin-rajab

and full press coverage (so far) at:
http://mahmood.tv/bin-rajab-vs-al-yousif-libel-case/

A higher resolution image of the attached document (for publication) is available at:
http://mahmood.tv/pages/courtcase_binrajab_vs_alyousif_pp.jpg

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The Constitutional court works!

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If you wish to see anyone in Bahrain having an immediate epileptic fit, just mention the numbers 8/1970 and stand back and watch the antics! Feel free to laugh or cry with them.

What you have done is infer that the poor mug has lost a parcel of land.

A parcel of land probably bought on a 10-year installment plan for which he has to sacrifice a lot in order to make the payments so that they might, one day, build a dream home on or leave for descendants or indeed keep as a safe investment. That law gives the government the absolute right to appropriate that parcel of land with everything on and in it (be it a built property, water resources, plants, etc.) for a price determined by a supposedly independent pricing committee, the members of which are all appointed by the Ministry of Municipalities! I have never heard of a “fair” compensation for any appropriate land yet.

There is another law – I could not find a reference to yet – which allows the government to appropriate up to 30% of any parcel of land without offering any compensation to the owner! This is even more damning and I think parliament is discussing a law to repeal it (or supposed to discuss it at least – when they finish from burning Shaikha Mai on the stake that is).

Therefore it is rather shocking to read the news reports this morning (Arabic) in which they carried an unprecedented move by the Constitutional Court yesterday when it issued a decision negating the constitutionality of Law by Decree number 8 of 1970 (Arabic) which dealt with the appropriation of land by the government for “public interest”.

This is very good news of course and one that I hope will continue to be the hallmark of the Constitutional Court. Ensuring its independence and protecting the constitution elevates the level of trust citizens will have in the country as a whole, as they are sure now that they can look to the highest court in the land to protect their interest and stand with them against unconstitutional laws.

Well done! More good news please.

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GOOD NEWS!

Here’s some Good News™ for a change:

Lawsuit - health oversight board

A new authority that will investigate medical errors and award licences to private hospitals in Bahrain is in the pipeline.

“The new authority will regulate health professionals and services and ensure that all health practices are in line with international best practice examples,” he said.

He added that it would be the duty of the authority to set up, monitor and enforce national standards for health institutions, health professions, drugs and pharmacies, health insurance, diagnostic facilities, clinical research and medical devices.

“Over and above this, the authority will also be responsible for ensuring that relevant information is provided to the public,” he said.

It will also deal with issues related to regulating the establishment of new private hospitals and clinics, quality-assurance factors at medical centres, the skills and performance of doctors and the rights of patients
Trade Arabia :: 30 Nov, ’06

This obviously means that with this board we will ultimately have better and more professional medical services. Initially, a lot of people will probably sue until they’re blue in the face, which is good, as that will force medical professionals to become more professionals rather than using their patients as pin cushions and training cadavers!

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