Skyline International issued a report in 2018 regarding human rights abuses by the Kingdom of Bahrain due to the social media activities of its citizens. They were exposed to arrests, trials and enforced disappearance.
The Stockholm-based organization reported more than 86 violations during the year, including 21 verdicts, 32 torture and investigation, 24 arrests, 9 enforced disappearances, and hundreds of summonses to the Interior Ministry.
According to Skyline, many detainees have been accused of misuse of social media, inciting hatred of the regime, and calling for a boycott of parliamentary elections.
Threats And Violations Against Opponents
The nature of these charges against citizens contravenes the international laws guaranteeing the right of expression, as expressed in the Convention on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is also guaranteed by Bahraini law.
In its report, the Foundation also noted that a large number of members of political parties in Bahrain were prevented from appearing on the local media, thus strengthening the ruling authority’s control over the local informal media and making it another version of the regime.
The report indicates that the Bahraini Ministry of Interior threatened all opponents who wanted to express their views, for example by boycotting parliamentary elections in November last year, and arrested those who promoted the boycott on social media.
The former Bahraini MP Rashid al-Ashiri, who announced his position to boycott the elections with his family is one of the detainees. Al-Ashiri published a post on twitter that led to his arrest. He said in this post that he and his family “will boycott the elections”.
“I am a Bahraini citizen deprived of my political and civil rights, so I and my family will boycott the parliamentary and municipal elections and the law of political isolation,” He added.
Among the most prominent violations recorded in Bahrain during the month of January last year, prominent Bahraini rights activist Hassan Rajab, who was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for publishing false news.
One month after Rajab’s first sentence, he was sentenced to five years in prison for his conviction of the Saudi war on Yemen on 21 February 2018.
List Of The Most Prominent Violations
SkyLine International documented hundreds of calls and investigations by the Bahraini Interior Ministry due to their publication, most of them were journalists and activists who published their views on social media or appeared on TV.
The following are the most prominent verdict issued because on the background of expressing their opinion in social media during the past year:
- On March 21, activist Jalila Al-Sayed was sentenced to one year in prison for running a social media account in which she criticized the government.
- March 27 A 10-year prison sentence was handed down to the journalist photographer Sayed Ahmed al-Moussawi and the withdrawal of his nationality.
- April 14 Ayman Mohammed Khaled, the son of former MP Mohammed Khalid, was arrested on charges of “giving information on social media that affect the personal lives of others.”
- April 18 The court sentenced former MP Mohammed Khalid to three months in jail after being convicted of “insulting religious figures” on Twitter.
- April 27: National Geographic photographer Sayed Baqer al-Kamel was arrested during a tour of a shopping mall in Manama.
- May 9 The fifth Criminal Court sentenced Sayed Ali al-Darazi to two years in prison for libelous incitement on social media.
- June 4 The Supreme Court upheld a fine of 1,000 dinars against Radio Monte Carlo and France 24 “Nezheza Saeed” on charges of “working without a license”.
- On June 25, the court sentenced the cyber-activist Najah Ahmed Yousef to three years in jail for running an online account that published protests against the Formula 1 race in her village.
- August 26, the Supreme Criminal Court sentenced the Shiite cleric Sheikh Mohammed Saeed al-Aradi to six months in prison for “insulting a person glorified by a group of people on a social media.”
- October 14 The Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the detention of blogger Mehdi Sohwan for 15 days on “inciting hatred against the regime” after reading a poem.
- October 19, the second Supreme Criminal Court sentenced the editor-in-chief of Al-Watan Yousef Al-Benkheel to one month in jail and 100 dinars for “insulting during publication”.
- November 13: The former prosecutor of al-Wefaq Ali al-Ashri was arrested after publishing a tweet in which he said that he or his family would not participate in the elections.
- December 9 The court arrested Qahtan al-Qahtani for one week on investigation for sending a letter to Watas Ab, which the Ministry of Information considered insulting and filed a lawsuit against him.
The escalation of the repression and detention process against the background of the expression of opinion is contrary to the basic standards of freedom and international conventions that preserve the human right to express his opinion. Sky Line International therefore considers it necessary to remind the Bahraini authorities of their international obligations and calls upon them to respect humanitarian standards and the provisions of international covenants issued On the United Nations.