Bahrain’s Targeting of Civil Society with Judicial Harassment Continues
Washington, D.C. – The coming week will see a series of high profile court hearings in Bahrain, exposing the authorities continued use of judicial harassment against human rights defenders and activists, said Human Rights First today.
On Sunday March 3, Halima Abdulaziz al Sabag is due to hear an appeal verdict. She is a dental assistant and was sentenced to a year in prison after she was convicted for allegedly taking first aid material from the hospital where she worked to treat injured protesters.
On Monday March 4, the Bahrain government will continue to press a case against leading human rights defender Said Yousif Al Muhafda of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights for information he tweeted about police using birdshot against protesters.
On Tuesday March 5, the appeal of 23 medics is due to return to court. They have all been convicted and sentenced to three months in prison after treating injured protesters in 2011.
“This continuing crackdown in the courts tells us more about the reality of what’s happening in Bahrain than the speeches its officials are giving to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva this week,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley.
This past week, leading activist Zainab al Khawaja was rearrested for protesting. The government announced it was sending her to another three months in jail for a separate incident. Other prominent human rights leaders, including President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab, remain in jail.
“Continuing to press for prison sentences against medics and other leading human rights figures shows what the Bahrain government really means when it says reform,” said Dooley.