By Bill Marczak:
Bahrain Watch Issues Urgent Advice for Activists to Stop Using @Zello Due to Security Flaw
September 7, 2014
Bahrain Watch understands that the Zello Walkie Talkie mobile app is widely used by youth activists in Bahrain. The app allows users to create groups (called channels), and then exchange audio messages from the group.
We are greatly concerned by reports that 15 individuals who were members of three different Zello channels were arrested on 3 September 2014, and have disappeared according to their lawyers. We understand that the arrests were conducted by police who lured the activists to a fake meeting, which some suspect may have occurred through traditional methods of infiltration or by posting voice messages to the channel through a compromised member. After the arrests, police posted messages to the channels warning that they were coming to get the activists “one by one.”
Bahrain Police Intercept Zello ‘Walkie-Talkie’ App to Arrest 15 Activists: here.
The UN called on Friday for Bahrain to release a prominent human rights activist and expressed concern about “ongoing violations” of freedom of expression in the Gulf kingdom.. “Ongoing violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and the targeting of human rights activists in Bahrain remain of serious concern,” Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. Maryam al-Khawaja, the daughter of a jailed opposition figure, was arrested on August 30 as she flew into the country to visit her father: here.
When Maryam al-Khawaja tried to visit her sick father Abdulhadi in a Bahraini prison for seemingly trumped up terrorism charges, the officials claimed she wasn’t even a citizen of the country. Her father is serving a life sentence for peacefully protesting during Bahrain’s Arab Spring: here.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern at the adoption by the Bahraini authorities of the revocation of citizenship as a means to put pressure on activists and pro-democracy campaigners. The tactic is used to deprive them of their right to freedom of expression and to form peaceful gatherings to claim self-determination: here.
Take Bahrain, for example. The country’s authorities just imprisoned Maryam al-Khawaja, the Vice President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Just a few days before her arrest on August 30, she made strong statements quoted by CNN concerning the discourse in Bahrain: here.