Free Social Media Activists in Bahrain


Target: Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

Goal: Demand fair treatment for Mohammad Hassan Sayef and Hussain Habib, two activists recently placed under arrest and held incommunicado.

Bahrain’s human rights record has been bleak for years, but recent crackdowns could spell more trouble for activists like Mohammad Hassan Sayef and Hussain Habib, both of whom were recently arrested. Sign the petition and demand that the Bahraini government be both fair and transparent in its treatment of Sayef and Habib.

The Bahraini government has given no reason for its separate arrests of Sayef and Habib, but Amnesty International suspects that the two men have been arrested as a result of their social media activism, as both were active on Facebook and Twitter. New regulations submitted to the king by the Bahraini Parliament have recommended a tightening of 2006’s already strict anti-terrorism laws, which make it an imprisonable offense to “[send] false information on Bahrain through social media networks.” Bahrain has a long history of human rights violations, and social media has been a valuable tool for activists to expose the abuses that continue to occur in the country.

Mohammad Hassan Sayef was arrested by plainclothes officers without a warrant. His whereabouts are currently unknown, and neither his family nor his legal representation have been allowed to see him. Hussain Habib was arrested at the airport as he attempted to fly to Dubai. Like Sayef, his whereabouts are unknown. Both men are at high risk of torture and ill-treatment.

Although Bahrain may try to silence its citizens through intimidation and force, it cannot silence the outrage of the global community. Sign the petition and demand that Sayef and Habib be granted every basic human right, including medical care, while they are imprisoned, and demand that they be either charged and tried fairly and expeditiously or immediately released.


Your Excellency,

I am writing to demand the fair and proper treatment of Mohammad Hassan Sayef and Hussain Habib. Sayef was arrested on July 31, 2013 by plainclothes officers. There was no arrest warrant. Habib was arrested at Bahrain International Airport, also on July 31. Both men appear to have been taken to the Criminal Investigation Directorate building. Despite the fact that neither man has been publicly accused of or charged with a crime, both are being held incommunicado without access to their families or legal representation. This is unacceptable.

Sayef and Habib must be guaranteed fair treatment, medical care, and access to legal representation. They must be safe from torture and ill-treatment. And if they are not going to be charged with a crime, they must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Bahrain does not have a strong record when it comes to human rights. Activists like Sayef and Habib have done nothing wrong in trying to expose Bahrain’s human rights violations–and imprisoning them without any apparent cause is not doing anything to help Bahrain’s already precarious reputation.

Do the right thing, both ethically and politically–either charge and try Sayef and Habib  expeditiously and fairly–or release them.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Victor via Flickr

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