Target: Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Goal: Demand that Bahrain re-commit to the human rights initiatives it promised to implement two years ago, and demand the fair treatment and release of prisoners of conscience
In 2011, the Bahraini government stated that it would honor the findings of an internal human rights investigation and work to implement more just and humane procedures. The intervening years, however, have proven the exact opposite: recent legislation has only served to further tighten restrictions on free speech and peaceful protest in Bahrain, and a number of activists are being held as prisoners of conscience. Sign the petition and demand that the Bahraini government stick to its word and implement the suggestions of the 2011 investigation committee.
Two recent examples of Bahrain’s crackdown on human rights are Hussain Hubail and Mohammad Hassan Sudayf. According to Amnesty International, the men are both charged with “using social media networks to incite hatred of the regime and calling on people to ignore the law.” The charges stem from the men’s apparent involvement in anti-government protests. Each of the two men has reported being tortured; Hubail alleges that he was “threatened and beaten,” and Sudayf claims to have endured “electric shocks and beatings,” as well as “being forced to strip naked and [having] his clothes taken away.” Hubail suffers from a heart condition and is not receiving adequate medical care while in detention, while Sudayf was arrested without a warrant. Sudayf’s lawyer was also arrested after he posted on social media about his client showing signs of torture.
After harsh government response to protests in 2011, the Bahraini government implemented the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to investigate human rights abuses and publicly promised to abide by the commission’s recommendations, including its call for investigations into allegations of torture and excessive force. Not only has the government not followed through on this promise, it has imposed even stricter measures to curtail peaceful protesting and criticism of the government.
An end to human rights abuses in Bahrain is long overdue. Sign the petition and demand that the Bahraini government honor its promise and uphold its human rights obligations, starting with the release of Hussain Hubail and Mohammad Hassan Sudayf.
Two years ago, the Bahraini government promised to uphold the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). However, human rights in Bahrain have not improved in the intervening years; if anything, they have deteriorated. I urge you to return to the commission’s recommendations and implement them immediately, and I demand justice for all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain who have been arrested, detained, tortured, and otherwise ill-treated simply for peacefully expressing their beliefs.
Two such prisoners of conscience are Hussain Hubail and Mohammad Hassan Sudayf. The men were arrested in July 2013 and charged with “using social media networks to incite hatred of the regime and calling on people to ignore the law.” Both have been subjected to torture while in custody, and Sudayf’s lawyer, ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Moussa, was also arrested after he wrote on social media that his client showed signs of torture. This entire situation is completely unacceptable, from the flimsy original charges to the allegations of torture to the cover-up of said allegations. To make matters even worse, Hubail is being denied adequate medical care for his severe heart condition, and Sudayf was arrested without a warrant. I demand that these men be released immediately and unconditionally if their only “crime” is peacefully expressing their dissent, and I demand that they be treated with compassion and respect as long as they remain in custody. In accordance with BICI’s recommendations, investigations into all allegations of torture or ill-treatment are crucial.
The world community is watching, as evidenced by the forty-seven countries who recently issued a joint statement expressing concern over Bahrain’s human rights violations. Bahrain has already squandered one opportunity to turn its reputation around. Do not let a second chance to make amends pass Bahrain by. Release prisoners of conscience, investigate allegations of torture, and implement the suggestions of BICI.
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Photo credit: Justin Norman via Flickr