Bahrain arrests human rights activist for "inciting hatred" against the monarchy

A Bahraini photographer holds a mask of Guy Fawkes used by the anonymous movement during an anti-government protest in the village of Bilad al-Qadeem, in a suburb of the capital Manama, on November 22, 2013.(Photo: AFP - Mohammed al-Shaikh)

Published Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bahraini human rights defender Hussain Jawad was arrested on Saturday over allegations of inciting hatred against the government, his organization confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

Hussein Jawad is a human rights activist, and Chairman of European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR), an international organization that works to defend human rights across the Middle East.

In addition to Jawad, EBOHR declared that “a number of prominent Bahraini activists were accused in the press of, inter alia, arming opposition militant factions, inciting xenophobic violence, and propagating sectarian discrimination during peaceful protests.”

According to EBOHR, Jawad has repeatedly and publicly called for a peaceful struggle towards democracy in Bahrain.

State-affiliated Bahraini media have engaged in negative coverage of pro-democracy activists, human rights NGO Front Line Defenders claimed.

According to EBOHR’s statement, Jawad went to the Central Province Center on November 23 to file a complaint against Bahraini media organizations and the chief editor of Emirati publication Gulf News, Anwar Abdul Rahman. Meanwhile, Jawad was notified that a police patrol was on its way to arrest him.

Jawad initially refused to be handcuffed by two officers dressed in civilian clothing, before relenting and being escorted to a police station for further questioning in the presence of his lawyer, Saeed Sarhan.

The interrogation focused on a speech Jawad delivered in the Bahraini capital Manama at an event commemorating the religious holiday of Ashura, declaring that it “incited hatred against the regime.”

EBOHR said that Jawad has been shuttled between at least three security facilities since his arrest. He is currently being held in a short-term detention unit.

On November 24, EBOHR confirmed and condemned the public prosecutor’s demand that Jawad remain in custody for fifteen days pending further investigation.

Front Line Defenders expressed their “grave concern that the Bahrain authorities persist in their habit of systematically targeting human rights defenders one after another through arrests, defamation, threats and prosecutions.”

In 2011 the Gulf state – ruled by the al-Khalifa monarchy – was shaken by an uprising calling for democratic reform.

Protesters were met with overwhelming military force leading to at least 89 deaths, according to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). The Bahraini government has since continued its crackdown on protests.

(Al-Akhbar)

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