Bahraini photographer gets ten years jail for photography


This video says about itself:

France 24: Bahrain Juveniles Under Crossfire & Toxic Gas

23 April 2013

Program produced by France 24 Arabic Channel about what minors in Bahrain suffer from, it shows how security forces storm schools and arrest students. It also highlights the story of a 5-years-old boy who had been shot with a shotgun which struck his eye. Ahmed Al-Nahham’s eye was removed, his testimony about what happeded to him.

From the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:

15 April, 2014

Bahrain: 10 Years in Prison for Photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan after an Unfair Trial

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern about the Bahraini authorities’ continued practice of arbitrary arrests and excessive use of force against journalists, photographers, and human rights activists. On Wednesday, 26 March 2014, the Third High Court issued a 10-year prison sentence against photographer Ahmed Humaidan [1] in a trial that lacked due process.

A reputed freelance photographer, Humaidan has won 163 awards internationally for his contributions to the field. After his arrest for alleged arson in December 2012, he stated that he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the torture he was reportedly subjected to by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) [2]. Humaidan was reportedly subjected to various methods of torture, including being forced to stand in a cold room for hours whilst handcuffed and blindfolded. Humaidan informed his family that while he was blindfolded and handcuffed at the CID, he was reportedly forced to carry an object that his interrogators told him was a live bomb. He was made to hold the object for several hours under duress and strict surveillance. Additionally, Humaidan stated that he was psychologically intimidated during questioning in order to extract a false confession. Interrogators reportedly threatened to bring charges against his siblings on fabricated crimes if he refused to confess.

Fadhel Al-Sawad, Humaidan’s lawyer, stated that no incriminating evidence was presented in court against Humaidan, except for the confessions that were reportedly extracted under torture and reports from anonymous sources from within the CID. Humaidan was subjected to an unjustified delay in his trial that continued for more than a year because key witnesses from the Ministry of Interior evaded and declined to attend the court proceedings for six months. There were numerous inconsistencies in witness testimony throughout the trial, particularly in regards to the location of the alleged crime [3]. Although Al-Sawad submitted substantial evidence in support of Humaidan’s innocence during the year-long trial, the court delivered the maximum sentence against Humaidan, whilst simultaneously acquitting two fugitive defendants that lacked defense and proof of innocence [4]. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights considers the decisions of this court to be arbitrary, and politically motivated.

The BCHR has documented attacks on photographers and journalists since the beginning of the pro-democracy movement in 2011. More than ten members of the media have been sentenced to prison [5]; some of them were reportedly subjected to torture. The blogger Zakariya Al-Ashairi [6] was documented in the BICI report as having been tortured to death. Others have faced extrajudicial killings, including photographer Ahmed Ismail Hasan [7]. During the three-month state of emergency in 2011, several photographers and members of the media were documented to have been summarily dismissed from their jobs and arrested during house raids; their families were reportedly intimidated, and some of their personal photography equipment was reportedly stolen. The government has failed to independently investigate these incidents, and has failed to hold the perpetrators of these acts accountable. On the contrary, in a recent case, the police officer Sara Al-Moussa [8] was acquitted of all charges in which she reportedly tortured the journalist Nazeeha Saeed (see: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/6260).

The authorities in Bahrain continue similar practices today. Many members of the media, including photographers such as Ahmed Fardan and Jaffar Madhoon, are subjected to enforced disappearance and reportedly tortured in order to extract false confessions [9]. Others, such as photographer Hussein Hubail and blogger Jassim Al-Noaimi, are reportedly subjected to torture, and then denied access to adequate medical attention [10]. The Bahraini authorities also target specific members of the press, such as journalist Mazen Mahdi and photographer Mohammed Al-Sheikh. On 26 February 2014, Mahdi was shot directly in the leg with a tear gas canister while filming a protest. The angle at which the shot was fired and the deliberate aiming of teargas directly at photojournalists confirms that the targeting was specific and intentional [11].

International human rights institutions and organizations have condemned the practice of targeting photographers and members of the media and subjecting them to enforced disappearance and torture. Reporters Without Borders has condemned the government’s practice of using arbitrary arrests as a means of intimidation to restrict the flow of information out of Bahrain [12].

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, United Nations and all close allies to the government of Bahrain to pressure Bahraini authorities to:

Immediately release Ahmed Humaidan and all other arbitrarily arrested members of the media and photographers;
Uphold Article 19 concerning the freedom of expression as a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
End the systematic targeting of photographers, journalists, and bloggers, and allow all members of the media to carry on their work free from restrictions and harassment;

Commission an independent investigation into the allegations against those implicated in human rights violations and acts of torture against imprisoned photographers, journalists, and bloggers.

—-

[1] http://www.alwasatnews.com/4219/news/read/870181/1.html

[2] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5608

[3] http://manamavoice.com/news-news_read-19338-0.html

[4] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3803/news/read/735384/1.html

[5] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6771

[6] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5737

[7] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/5143

[8] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3943/news/read/787380/1.html

[9] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6683

[10] http://bchr.hopto.org/ar/node/6609

[11] http://www.bahrainpa.org/?p=199

[12] http://en.rsf.org/bahrain-news-photographer-gets-10-years-in-26-03-2014,46046.html

[13] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3773/news/read/728056/1.html

This letter provides follow-up information to the Letter of Allegation of 15 December 2013 concerning the detention of journalist Mohammed Hassan, photographer Hussain Hubail and cameraman Qassim Zain Aldeen.

Ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 26th Session, ten free speech and human rights organisations have made a renewed call for the release of Bahraini journalists Hussain Hubail and Qassim Zain Aldeen: here.

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5 thoughts on “Bahraini photographer gets ten years jail for photography

  1. US Navy reiterates commitment to Bahrain, region

    We look forward to a nice, long time in the future, official tells Bahraini media

    By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

    Published: 17:13 April 18, 2014

    Gulf News

    Manama: US long-term military commitment to Bahrain and the region has been reiterated by a senior officer who said that they looked forward to a bright future.

    “The US Navy has been here since 1948,” Rear Admiral James Loeblein, Deputy Commander, US Naval Forces Central Command, said. “We have been here for over sixty-three years and we look forward to a nice, long time in the future as well,” he told Bahrain News Agency (BNA) at the Bahrain School Falcons Alumni open house and reception.

    Admiral Loeblein said that US Navy personnel “loved to come to Bahrain and to serve” and to send their children to Bahrain School.

    “These are the sons and daughters of our sailors and soldier servicemen and women in the marines. They love to serve and they love to come here to school to have a great world-class education in a world-class school,” he said.

    The Bahrain School reception was hosted as part of the celebrations of the American-Bahraini Friendship Week.

    Unlike at times conflicting statements issued by politicians, the declarations made by military commanders have been very clear about the depth of the US Navy engagement with the region.

    Last month, Vice Admiral John Miller, the commander of the 5th Fleet and the US Naval Forces Central Command, said that US Navy operations in the Arabian Gulf would go well into the middle of the century.

    Referring to the $580 million base expansion in Bahrain that includes modifications to accommodate the US Navy’s new littoral combat ships (LCS), due to be operational in the Arabian Gulf by 2018, Vice Admiral John Miller said that it indicated “an enduring presence.”

    “Some of the modifications that we are doing right now will help us get the base ready for the arrival of the littoral combat ships, which will start right around 2018,” Miller told Defense News. “Those are ships that will serve in the US Navy and this area right until the middle of the current century. We would not plan for this infrastructure if we did not plan on staying here and the second thing is that we plan on staying not just as the US Navy but in a coalition environment,” he said.

    In February, Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, said that the US was committed to Bahrain and the region.

    “We have a full commitment to this area,” Sweeney said. “Our presence in the region is a continuation of six-decade long commitment to stand by our partners in the region and we’ll continue to honour that commitment. “A big part of what I do out here as the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Commander, in addition to helping protect the free flow of commerce, is to build trust and inspire confidence with our regional partners,” he said.

    An enduring US presence in the region strengthens the US bond with regional partners, he added.

    The US Navy has had “a continuous presence in the region for more than 60 years and continues to work with its regional partners day in and day out to enhance security and stability and build trust and confidence.”

    “Our Navy is committed to maintaining a sustainable defensive presence in support of our regional partners, providing the flexibility to react to crises, and safeguard the free flow of commerce in waterways to enable the global economy.

    “Our deployment demonstrates our long-standing commitment to the stability of the region. I first came to this region and Bahrain as a young lieutenant back in 1990, and I cannot say enough about how well the Bahrainis embrace and support our Sailors,” he told Gulf News aboard the Truman in the Sea of Oman.

    Sweeney, 54, said that the deployment had been highly useful in several ways.

    “It demonstrates the long-term commitment the US has to the security and stability of the region. And as you have seen firsthand, after being forward deployed for seven months now, I continue to be amazed at what our young motivated Sailors and Marines accomplish each and every day,” said Sweeney who was responsible for USS Cole’s restoration and return to fleet operations in April 2002.

    The size of the region, however, remains the greatest challenge the Navy has to face.

    “The 5th Fleet area of responsibility covers a vast volume of water space and airspace to include the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Sea of Oman and of course the Arabian Gulf,” Sweeney said.

    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/us-navy-reiterates-commitment-to-bahrain-region-1.1321204

  2. Pingback: No free press in Bahraini absolute monarchy | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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