Home Page > News Item > BAHRAIN: Sentences upheld against jailed human rights defenders, writers and bloggers

RAN 46/10 update #5 6 September 2012

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee protests the continuous detention of activists and bloggers including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace after the High Court of Appeal in Bahrain upheld on 4 September 2012 their life sentences for their peaceful opposition activities. It calls for their immediate and unconditional release, along with all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful exercise of their opinions, and urges a full and independent investigation into allegations that they were tortured in pre-trial detention. It reminds the Bahraini authorities of their obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a signatory.

On 4 September 2012, the High Court of Appeal in Bahrain confirmed the convictions of 13 human rights defenders, bloggers and activists serving time in prison and the 7 tried in absentia. Human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and academic, blogger and human rights activist Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace had been sentenced by a special security court on 22 June 2011 to life for their peaceful activities.

According to PEN’s information, leading lawyers who observed the appeal pointed out several legal violations during the appeal such as the fact that not all of the defense witnesses were heard; the confessions that were extracted under torture were not dismissed; and the last few hearings were held in secrecy, with a gag order on the press.

On 28 September 2011, the military-run National Safety Court of Appeal had confirmed the convictions of 14 human rights activists and bloggers including Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, and upheld their sentences of life imprisonment. They are believed to be targeted for calling for political reform and for their reporting on human rights abuses in the country.

For more information please see the WiPC update on a trial observation mission for the case and for more on Bahrain and a joint action on the case signed by over 100 organisations including PEN International, please click here.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Please send appeals:

• Calling for the immediate release of Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain;
• Protesting the decision by the High Court of Appeal in Bahrain to uphold the harsh sentences against Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and others solely for peacefully exercising their right to free expression;
• Demanding a full independent investigation into allegations that both men have been tortured and ill-treated in detention;
• Urging the Bahraini authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Bahrain solely for the peaceful expression their opinions, including Dr Al-Singace and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

Send appeals to:

His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa
King of Bahrain
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O.Box 555
Rifa’a Palace
Kingdom of Bahrain.
Fax: +973 176 64 587

Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P.O.Box 450
Al-Manama
Bahrain.
Fax: +973 175 31 284

Dr. Salah Ali Abdulrahman
Minister of Human Rights and Social Development,
Ministry of Human Rights and Development
Manama
Kingdom of Bahrain

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Bahrain in your country if possible.

***Please contact this office if sending appeals after 31 October 2012***

For further information please contact Ghias Aljundi at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: ghias.aljundi@pen-international.org

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