Bahrain
07.06.19
Urgent Interventions

Threats and defamation against Messrs. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha and Hussein al-Satri

BHR 001 / 0619 / OBS 048

Threats/

Defamation

Bahrain
June 7
, 2019


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointpartnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requestsyour urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

Descriptionof the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sourcesabout the threats and defamation against Messrs. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha, Vice-president of the NGO Salam forDemocracy and Human Rights and Board member of the Bahrain Center for HumanRights, and Hussein al-Satri, anonline activist[1].

According to the information received, on May19, 2019, the Director General of Anti-corruption and Economic & ElectronicSecurity (Ministry of Interior) announced that an investigation launched intoTwitter accounts “that tended to encourage sedition and harm civil peace,social fabric and stability” in Bahrain had shown that most of these accountswere managed by individuals based in Iran, Qatar, Iraq, European countries suchas France and Germany, and Australia, and by “fugitives convicted in absentia”[2].In his statement, the Director General namely accused Messrs. Sayed YousifAlmuhadafdha and Hussein al-Satri of managing an “e-network of accountsproviding false information” and said that legal action will be taken againstthose accounts holders. Following this statement, the King of Bahrain and itsPrime Minister also called on those running these Twitter accounts to be heldto account.

On May21, 2019, the media outlet Al Arabiya published a video reportabout the Ministry of Interior’ statement. The video[3]describes Messrs. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha and Hussein al-Satri as “wanted”men. The two defenders have never been consulted by the media to get quotes ortheir versions of the facts. Mr. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha stated he woulddenounce this act of defamation before courts and considers these threatsconstitute a reprisal for his human rights work and Tweets denouncing the humanrights violations in Bahrain.

TheObservatory recalls that Mr. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha has already beentargeted for information he shared on social media in the past. In December2012, Mr. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha was arrested for allegedly spreading falseinformation on Twitter, following his documentation of a peaceful protest inManama. He was held in pre-trial detention for one-month and then released onbail on January 17, 2013.

TheObservatory is deeply concerned about the threats and acts of defamationagainst Messrs.Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha and Hussein al-Satri, and fears the consequencesthose could have on their family members based in Bahrain. The Observatory believesthese threats are only aimed at punishing Messrs. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha andHussein al-Satri for their legitimate human rights activities and exercise oftheir freedom of expression and opinion, as it has been the case with otherhuman rights defenders in Bahrain, including Mr. Nabeel Rajab[4].

Actionsrequested:

Please write to the authorities of Bahrain asking themto:

i.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychologicalwell-being of Messrs. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha, Hussein al-Satri, their familymembers, and all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. Putan end to all threats and acts of harassment, including at the judicial level,against Messrs. Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha, Hussein al-Satri and all thehuman rights defenders in Bahrain;

iii.Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on HumanRights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, inparticular its Articles 1, 11 and 12;

iv.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments 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, Fax : +973 17 21 05 75; ofd@mofa.gov.bh

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

· Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA,Minister of Interior, Email: info@interior.gov.bh

· H.E. Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, PermanentMission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch

· H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Embassy of theKingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Belgium, Fax: +32 (0) 26472274; E-mail:Brussels.mission@mofa.gov.bh

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Bahrain in yourrespective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, June 7, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (theObservatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation AgainstTorture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedysituations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are bothmembers of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

[1] Messrs.Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha and Hussein al-Satri are respectively based inGermany and Australia.

[2]Seethe Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Interior’s online article, posted on May 20,2019: http://www.policemc.gov.bh/en/news/ministry/92021

[3] Seehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrwXatLUlS8&feature=youtu.be

[4] Seethe Observatory Press Release published on August 29, 2018.

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