Free Activist Arrested for Peaceful Speech

Bill Koplitz

Target: Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain

Goal: Release an activist jailed for making a peaceful speech calling for change in Bahrain.

An activist with the National Democratic Action Society, a Bahraini opposition party, has been arrested and charged with “incitement to hatred and contempt of the regime” and “incitement to overthrow the regime by force and illegal means” as a result of a peaceful speech he made. Sign the petition and demand that he be freed immediately.

Ebrahim Sharif had previously been arrested for participating in peaceful anti-government protests in 2011. He was recently pardoned and released, but he had only been out of prison for about a month before he was arrested again, this time for a speech he made at an event commemorating Hussam al-Haddad, a teenage boy who was killed by riot police in 2012. Sharif urged change and emphasized non-violent approaches. He was arrested shortly thereafter. The prosecution has twice extended his detention by fifteen days and has rejected his lawyer’s request that he be released on bail.

Free speech is an essential human right and a key component of modern society and government. Ebrahim Sharif is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, and as such he must be released immediately. Sign the petition and demand that the charges against him be dropped.

PETITION LETTER:

Your Majesty,

I am writing to demand the immediate release of Ebrahim Sharif, an activist detained solely for peacefully expressing his political beliefs. His arrest, especially so soon after his release from jail as the result of a royal pardon, is a stain on Bahrain’s already-lackluster human rights record and must be rectified immediately. Drop the charges against Ebrahim Sharif and release him from jail as quickly as possible.

Sharif was arrested following remarks he made at an annual commemoration of Hussam al-Haddad, who was killed by riot police in 2012 when he was just sixteen years old. Sharif, the former Secretary General of the National Democratic Action Society, called for change in Bahrain but emphasized the party’s commitment to non-violent approaches. He was arrested two days later and has been denied bail.

Ebrahim Sharif is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned only because of his dissenting political beliefs. I demand that his right to free speech be respected. Release Ebrahim Sharif and drop all the charges against him.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Bill Koplitz

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