From The Atlantic in the USA:
Escape From Bahrain: Ali Abdulemam Is Free
The exclusive inside story of a dissident blogger’s getaway from the repressive island kingdom, how events overcame rescue plans, and what’s next for him
Thor Halvorssen May 10 2013, 8:39 AM ET
After more than two years in hiding, Ali Abdulemam, the globally renowned blogger and free-speech advocate, has been freed from the Kingdom of Bahrain. Abdulemam is now safely in Europe, after a dramatic escape in a secret compartment of a car, and will make his first public appearance in more than two years on Wednesday at the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF).
In 1999, Abdulemam created the pro-democracy news website Bahrain Online, the island’s first free Internet forum for political and social debate, becoming a pivotal architect of his country’s political blogosphere. Because of this, and his related efforts to promote human rights in his country, Abdulemam was detained numerous times by the Bahraini authorities — eventually imprisoned in September 2010 along with 25 other human-rights activists for “spreading false information” and defaming the king — and subjected to interrogation, beatings, and torture. Despite being blocked by regime censors, Bahrain Online still regularly gets more than 100,000 hits a day.
In February of 2011 Abdulemam accepted an invitation from the Human Rights Foundation (HRF, OFF’s parent organization) to give a talk on dissent in Bahrain. Two weeks later, amid massive anti-government protests, he sent a cryptic tweet and abruptly disappeared. Three days after that, police ransacked his house. In June of 2011, Abdulemam was tried in absentia by a military court and sentenced to 15 years in prison for “plotting” an anti-government “coup.”
In 2012, with Abdulemam’s whereabouts still unknown, his wife was invited to the Oslo Freedom Forum but was unable to attend because of family commitments. This year, in close cooperation with another organization, HRF took a much more aggressive approach: planning Abdulemam’s escape from Bahrain.
Interview: Ali Abdulemam on Human Rights in Bahrain: here.
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