Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah


BHR 002 / 1112 / OBS102

Arbitrarydetention /



November 5, 2012

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Bahrain.

Briefdescription of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources aboutthe new arrest and arbitrary detention of Mr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah, Acting Vice President and Head of Documentation Unitof the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR).

According to the information received, on November 2, 2012,Mr. AlMuhafdhah was arrested in Duraz while he was documenting the injury of aman who was shot by bird-shot pellets at a protest earlier that day. Mr.AlMuhafdhah was transferred to Budaiya Police Station where he was interrogatedabout his presence at the injured man's door.

In the morning of November 3, 2012, Mr. AlMuhafdhah wastaken to the public prosecution where he was remanded seven days of detentionon charges of “participation in illegal protests”. Mr. Said denied having takenpart in the protest and stated that he arrived on the spot after the end of theevent in order to document the case of the injured protester. His next hearingis on November 10, 2012.

The Observatory recalls that, on September 23, 2012, Mr.AlMuhafdhah and other Bahraini human rights defenders who cooperated with theUnited Nations (UN) received threats of reprisals while they were in Geneva toparticipate in the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council. Thepro-governmental newspaper Al-Watanaccused Mr. AlMuhafdhah and other human rights defenders of “defaming Bahrain”and labelled them as “traitors to the country”.

It is to be further recalled that, on December 5, 2011, Mr.Adel Fleifel, a former official from the State Security Services who is closeto the Prime Minister, had threatened Mr. AlMuhafdhah and other Bahraini humanrights defenders via a tweet which thus read: “do not think that because nowI’m not in the Ministry of Interior, I will shut up about you[1].

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest anddetention of Mr. AlMuhafdhah, and calls on the Bahraini authorities for his immediateand unconditional release, as such acts seem to merely aim at sanctioning andhindering his human rights activities.

TheObservatory more generally reiterates its call on the Bahraini authorities toput an end to all acts of harassment – including at the judicial level –against all human rights defenders in Bahrain, and to comply with allinternational human rights standards and international instruments ratified byBahrain, in particular the United Nations (UN) Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998.


The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:

  1. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. AlMuhafdhah, as well as of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

  1. Release Mr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it seems to merely sanction his human rights activities;

  1. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. AlMuhafdhah, as well as against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

  1. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyonehas the right, individually or in association withothers, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels” ;

- its Article 6 (c) whichstates that “everyone has the right, individually and in association withothers to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in lawand in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, throughthese and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to thosematters” ;

- and its Article 12.2which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure theprotection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and inassociation with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de factoor de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as aconsequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in thepresent Declaration”.

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for humanrights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rightsstandards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.


· Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain,Fax: +973 176 64 587

· Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister ofForeign Affairs, Tel: +973 172 27 555; Fax : +973 172 12 6032

· Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justiceand Islamic Affairs, Tel: +973 175 31 333; Fax: +973 175 31 284

· Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA,Minister of Interior, Tel: +973 17572222 and +97317390000.Email:

· Permanent Mission ofBahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin Jacques-Attenville, 1218Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email:

Please also write to diplomatic representations ofBahrain in your respective countries.


Paris-Geneva,November 5, 2012

Kindly inform us of any actionundertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH andOMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aimsto offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory,call the emergency line:

  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] See Observatory Urgent Appeal BHR 009 / 1211 / OBS 136, issued onDecember 7, 2011.