Reporters Without Borders

Crackdown continues in Bahrain, bloggers go on trial in Emirates

Crackdown continues in Bahrain, bloggers go on trial in Emirates

Published on Thursday 16 June 2011.
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BAHRAIN

Regime officials have reportedly taken over the Facebook and Twitter pages of Rasad News, a major source of news about human rights violations in Bahrain, and are posting anti-protest and pro-regime material after the arrest on 9 June of Hussein Ali Makki, administrator of the pages. Rasad News has since opened a new Facebook page to continue its work.

PalTalk, an audio and video chat group that was becoming increasingly political, especially one chatroom called Bahrain Nation, has been blocked since the beginning of the month.

Access to a new anti-government news site, http://bahrainmirror.com, has been blocked since 5 June.

Ali Omid, administrator of an online forum arrested on 10 May, was released on 22 May but is still liable for prosecution.

Mattar Ibrahim Mattar, a member of parliament for the Al-Wefaq party and leading pro-democracy activist, was charged by a military court on 12 June with "calling openly for the overthrow of the ruling system, disseminating tendentious rumours and taking part in illegal gatherings." He had been arrested on 2 May after warning of the possible arrests of opposition leaders in a interview with Al-Jazeera.

Hussein Al-Durazi, a sports reporter for the daily Al-Ayam arrested after a police summons in Riffa on 23 May, was freed on 2 June. The paper has reportedly dismissed him.

The trial of the editors of the newspaper Al-Wasat has been postponed until 19 June. (http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/m...).

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The trial of human rights bloggers Ahmed Mansour, Farhad Salem and Nasser bin Ghaith began on 14 June for undermining state security, disturbing public order and insulting the head of state, the vice-president and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. He was arrested in early April after signing a petition calling for democratic reforms. He is being tried with two other signatories, Hassan Ali Al Khamis and Ahmed Abdul Khaleq.

All pleaded not guilty and asked for a trial behind closed doors to avoid any pressure on the federal supreme court, which postponed the hearing until 18 July.

Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities to drop all charges against them and release them immediately.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the countries “under surveillance” on the Reporters Without Borders list of worldwide “Internet enemies.”

KUWAIT

A Kuwaiti Internet user, Nasser Abul, has been imprisoned since 7 June after strongly supporting online the rebellion in Bahrain. He reportedly has no access to a lawyer and has only been allowed to make one phone call to his family.

YEMEN

The regime’s Republican Guard seized 5,000 copies of the daily paper Akhbar Al-Youm at the Qahaza checkpoint in Sanaa on 12 June as they were on their way to the Taiz, Ibb and Dhamar provinces.

Security forces seized copies of the daily Al-Oula and the weekly Al-Sharia in Sanaa on 9 June, the ninth time Al-Oula had been seized since pro-democracy demonstrations began four months ago.

LIBYA

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release on 13 June of Al-Jazeera cameraman Kamel Al-Tallou, a Libyan-born British citizen arrested on 19 March near Zawiya with three other Al-Jazeera journalists – Tunisian Lotfi Al-Masoudi (freed on 31 March), Mauritanian Ahmad Val Ould Eddin (released on 11 April) and Iraqi-born Norwegian Ammar Al-Hamdan (freed on 14 April).

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