REPORT ON FRONT LINE HEARING OBSERVATION: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN BAHRAIN
A report of the hearing of:
• Ali Abdulemam (blogger and owner of bahrainonline.org);
• Dr. Abduljalil Al-Sengai (spokesman and Director of the Human Rights Bureau of the Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy);
• Abdul-Ghani Khanjar (spokesperson for the Bahraini National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture);
• Suhail Al-Shehabi (Committee of the Relatives of Detainees and the Committee of the Unemployed);
• Ahmed Jawad Al-Fardan (Committee of the Relatives of Detainees in Karzakan);
• Ali Jawad Al-Fardan (Committee of the Relatives of Detainees in Karzakan);
• Salman Naji (Committee of the Unemployed);
• AbdulHadi Al-Saffar (chairman of the Committee Against High Prices);
• Hassan Al-Haddad (member of the Committee of the Unemployed);
• Mr Jaffar Al-Hessabi (dual British-Bahraini national, independent human rights defender supporting the rights of detainees in Bahrain);
• Dr Mohammed Saeed (board member of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights),
High Criminal Court, Manama, Bahrain – 11 November 2010
Front Line works worldwide for the protection of human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Front Line publicly reported on numerous occasions on the trial against a number of human rights defenders facing charges of “terrorist” activities in Bahrain, and repeatedly called for their release and for the charges to be dropped as they appeared to be motivated by their legitimate human rights work.
Front Line commissioned Ms Charlotte Peevers, an English qualified Barrister, to conduct a visit to Bahrain in early November 2010 to observe the proceedings. Ms Peevers attended the session of the trial held on 11 November 2010 before the High Criminal Court.
Ms Peevers sought to meet with representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Ministry of Justice Officials indicated they were unwilling to discuss the case as both the Minister of Justice and his Deputy were out of the country at the time.
Unfortunately, although the PPO did appear willing to discuss the trial there were apparently bureaucratic difficulties that prevented a meeting. It was, however, possible to meet with lawyers of the detainees, human rights activists, and family members of the detainees.