Bahrain: Ongoing judicial harassment faced by Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati

19/06/2013
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment faced by Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati, President of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR).

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 :

According to the information received, on June 19, 2013, Mr. Al-Maskati appeared before the Lower Criminal Court on charges of “participation in illegal protests” in relation to a peaceful gathering held in Manama on October 12, 2012 to call for human rights and democracy in the country[1]. At the June-19 hearing, Mr. Al-Maskati’s lawyers asked for the case file, and the judge decided to postpone the case to July 9, 2013. Mr. Al-Maskati could face three to six months’ imprisonment.

On October 17, 2012, Mr. Al-Maskati had appeared before Bahrain’s public prosecution under these same charges. He had been summoned the day before to Al Hoora police station, where he had been kept overnight before being referred to the Prosecutor’s office. On October 17, he was released on bail, but charges against him have remained pending since then.

Previously, on September 23, 2012, Mr. Al-Maskati and other Bahraini human rights defenders who had cooperated with the United Nations (UN) had received threats of reprisals while they were in Geneva to participate in the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council. Mr. Al-Maskati was notably threatened with death through more than a dozen anonymous phone calls[2].

The Observatory condemns these acts of harassment against Mr. Al-Maskati, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities. The Observatory also recalls that several human rights defenders remain in arbitrary detention or are subject to judicial harassment in the country.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Bahrain urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Al-Maskati and all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Al-Maskati as well as all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, Article 11, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to the lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession”, Article 12(1) that provides “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

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

Addresses:

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
H.E. Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Ambassador, 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: info@bahrain-mission.ch

***
Paris-Geneva, June 19, 2013

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Mr. Al-Maskati was accompanied by foreign journalists to cover that protest.
[2] Furthermore, Mr. Al-Maskati and other Bahraini human rights defenders had already been subject to death threats before. See in particular Observatory Urgent Appeal BHR 009 / 1211 / OBS 136, December 7, 2011.

Read more
appelobs