Bahrain
18.12.12
Urgent Interventions

Arrest of Mr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah

URGENT APPEAL -THE OBSERVATORY

New information

BHR 002 / 1112 / OBS102.2

Arrest

Bahrain

December 18, 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), has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

Newinformation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources aboutthe arrest of Mr. Sayed YousifAlMuhafdhah,Acting Vice President and Head of Documentation Unit of the Bahrain Center forHuman Rights (BCHR).

According to the information received, on December 17,2012, Mr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah was arrested while he was monitoring ademonstration held in the capital city of Manama to mark the anniversary of twoprotesters who were killed in 1994. On December 18, the Public Prosecutorremanded him in custody in Hooth Al-Jaff prison for seven days pending aninvestigation on charges of spreading false information on Twitter.

The Observatory highlights that the arrest took place onthe eve of a visit to Bahrain by a delegation of Members of the EuropeanParliament (MEPs) with a focus on human rights issues. On December 4, Mr. SayedYousif AlMuhafdhah had attended a round table on the human rights situation inBahrain at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels. The MEP who hosted theround table was not granted a visa to be part of the EP delegation.

The Observatory strongly condemns the new arbitrary arrestand detention of Mr. AlMuhafdhah, and calls on the Bahraini authorities torelease him immediately and unconditionally, as such acts seem to merely aim atsanctioning and hindering his human rights activities.

The Observatory more generally reiterates its call on theBahraini authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment – including at thejudicial level – against all human rights defenders in Bahrain, and to complywith all international human rights standards and international instrumentsratified by Bahrain, in particular the United Nations (UN) Declaration on HumanRights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998.

Backgroundinformation:

On September 23, 2012, Mr. AlMuhafdhah and other Bahrainihuman rights defenders who cooperated with the United Nations (UN) receivedthreats of reprisals while they were in Geneva to participate in the 21stsession of the UN Human Rights Council. The pro-governmental newspaper Al-Watan accused Mr. AlMuhafdhah andother human rights defenders of “defaming Bahrain” and labelled them as“traitors to the country”.

On November 2, 2012, Mr. AlMuhafdhah was arrested in Durazwhile he was documenting the injury of a man who was shot by bird-shot pelletsat a protest earlier that day. Mr. AlMuhafdhah was transferred to BudaiyaPolice Station where he was interrogated about his presence at the injuredman'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”. On November 10, 2012, thepublic prosecution decided to extend Mr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah's detentionby seven additional days without providing any grounds or justification forthis decision. On November 14, 2012, the Public Prosecution decided to releaseMr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah and drop the charges of “participation in illegalprotests” that had been pending against him since November 2, 2012.

Actionsrequested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:

i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdhah, aswell as of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Release Mr. SayedYousif AlMuhafdhah immediately and unconditionally as his detentionis arbitrary since it seems to merely sanction his human rightsactivities;

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

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the UN Declarationon Human Rights Defenders, in particular:

- its Article 1, which states that“everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of humanrights and fundamental freedoms atthe national and international 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.

Addresses:

· 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 +973 17390000. Email: info@interior.gov.bh

· 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: info@bahrain-mission.ch

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

***

Paris-Geneva,December 18, 2012

Kindly inform us of anyaction undertaken 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:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 143 55 18 80

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

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