Target: Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
Goal: Free activist jailed for insulting a religious figure
Freedom of expression is an internationally-recognized human right.. However, activist Nader Abdulemam found himself denied this right after he was jailed for posting an “insulting” religious comment on Twitter. He is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful expression of his own personal beliefs. Sign the petition and demand that Bahraini authorities release him immediately.
Bahrain’s laws prohibit “publicly insulting a symbol or person considered sacred to members of a particular religious sect,” Amnesty International reports. Such laws infringe upon freedom of expression as laid out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Bahrain, as a party to the treaty, is obligated to abide by its rules, and the country’s laws violate the treaty’s terms.
Abdulemam was arrested after he posted “derogatory” comments about Khalid bin al-Waleed, a companion to the Prophet Muhammad and an important Islamic religious figure. In addition to these charges, he is facing punishment for “illegal gathering” as a result of a protest he participated in recently.
Nader Abdulemam is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately. Sign the petition and demand that authorities respect both his rights and the rights of all Bahraini citizens.
Freedom of expression is a universal human right. Bahrain’s current laws, however, constitute a gross violation of this right–and people like activist Nader Abdulemam are suffering the consequences. I strongly urge you to revise your laws to reflect a respectful stance toward human rights, and to immediately free Abdulemam, as he is a prisoner of conscience.
Abdulemam was arrested and jailed after he posted an “insulting” comment about Khalid bin al-Waleed on Twitter. He was charged under article 310 of the Bahraini Penal Code, which stipulates that it is illegal to “publicly [insult] a symbol or person considered sacred to members of a particular religious sect,” Amnesty International reports. However, this aspect of the penal code is in direct violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bahrain is a state party.
Also problematic are Articles 214, 215, and 216 of the Bahraini Penal Code, as they lay out incredibly broad conditions for what is considered “offensive” and impose strict penalties that are also in violation of the ICCPR. Like Article 310, these articles restrict the right to freedom of expression and violate human rights.
Please do the right thing: free Nader Abdulemam and revise Bahrain’s laws to bring them into agreement with internationally agreed-upon human rights standards.
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Photo credit: Allan Donque via Flickr