Bahrain: Systematic pattern of obstacles to freedom of movement against human rights defenders

Urgent Appeal

BHR 002 / 0916 / OBS 080
Obstacles to freedom of movement /
Arbitrary detention
September 2, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about a series of travel bans issued against Ms. Nedal Al-Salman, Head of International Relations for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Mr. Mohammed Al Tajer, prominent human rights lawyer, Mr. Ebtisam Al Sayegh, a member of Salam Organization for Democracy and Human Rights, Mr. Essa Al Ghayeb, Director of the Lualua Center for Human Rights, Mr. Ahmed Al-Saffar, a member of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR), Ms. Enas Oun, Head of BCHR’s Monitoring and Documentation Section, Mr. Hussain Radhi, member of the team of BCHR’s Monitoring and Documentation Section, and Ms. Jalila Al-Salman, President of Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO), as well as of the ongoing arbitrary detention of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, writer, blogger and President of the Women’s Petition Committee (WPC) and Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the BCHR and FIDH Deputy Secretary General.

According to the information received, in the evening of August 31, 2016, Ms. Jalila Al-Salman was prevented from leaving Bahrain via the Causeway to Saudi Arabia, and told that she was banned from leaving the country. Ms. Jalila Al-Salman was planning to participate in the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Likewise, on August 29, 2016. Ms. Nedal Al-Salman was informed by a police officer at Bahrain International Airport that the Public Prosecution had issued a travel ban against her. Ms. Nedal Al-Salman intended to travel to Geneva and other locations in Europe in order to call attention to recent crackdowns on human rights defenders in Bahrain, and notably on the ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, whose next hearing is scheduled for September 5, 2016 [1].

In a similar move, on August 27, 2016, Messrs. Ahmed Al-Saffar and Ebtisam Al Sayegh were prevented from leaving Bahrain via the Causeway to Saudi Arabia, reportedly pursuant to a ban issued by the Public Prosecution’s office.

Three days before, on August 24, Mr. Essa Al-Ghayeb was stopped by the security authorities of Bahrain International Airport on his way to Georgia, and told that the “security apparatuses” had passed an order to prevent him from leaving the country.

Similarly, on August 23, Mr. Mohammed Al Tajer was informed at Bahrain International Airport of a similar ban issued by the Public Prosecutor against him. On July 8, he had previously been denied the right to travel to Saudi Arabia, and has since been unable to obtain any written confirmation or justification from the passport and immigration authorities for such a ban.

On August 23, Mr. Hussain Radhi was also informed by officials at Bahrain International Airport that he was subject to a travel ban ordered by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). When he attempted to challenge this ban with the Public Prosecution, he was informed that a case had been filed against him for "spreading false news and inciting hatred against the regime", over remarks he would have made on Twitter.

On August 22, 2016, Ms. Enas Oun was in turn stopped by Bahraini authorities at Bahrain International Airport as she was on her way to attend a human rights workshop in Tunisia. She was informed that she was banned from traveling, based on an order issued the day before by the General Directorate of the CID.

The Observatory also deplores the arrest on August 15, 2016 of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, upon arrival from London at Bahrain International Airport. As of issuing this Urgent ppeal, Ms. Jamsheer remains detained at Isa Town Detention Centre for Women, and was able to call her family and contact a lawyer. On June 22, 2016, she had been sentenced on appeal to one year in prison by the Second High Criminal Court, in relation to four cases related to her tweets outlining corruption practices within the King Hamad hospital [2].

The Observatory strongly denounces the systematic pattern of obstacles to freedom of movement used by the Bahraini authorities against human rights defenders, in a clear attempt to hinder their human rights activities. The Observatory calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately put an end to such obstacles, and to immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained in the country.

Action requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:

i. Immediately lift the travel bans and put an end to any obstacles to the freedom of movement of all the above-mentioned human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, Mr. Nabeel Rajab, and all the other human rights defenders detained throughout the country, as their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against the above-mentioned human rights defenders, and more generally against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.


· Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
· Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tel: +973 172 27 555; Fax : +973 172 12 6032
· Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Tel: +973 175 31 333; Fax: +973 175 31 284
· Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Tel: +973 17572222 and +973 17390000. Email:
· Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin Jacques-Attenville, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email:

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Bahrain in your respective countries.

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