For Immediate Release: May 22, 2013
Washington, DC – The attacks on human rights activist in Bahrain intensified today as three prominent civil society figures – Zainab Al Khawaja, Masooma Alsayed, Naji Fateel – were sentenced to months in prison. Human Rights First notes the sentences reflect a deteriorating human rights situation in the Kingdom.
Today, Zainab Al Khawaja was sentenced to three more months in jail for taking part in an illegal gathering and insulting a police officer. She is already in prison on other politically-motivated charges. Prominent activist Masooma Alsayed was also reportedly sentenced to six months on the same charges. Naji Fateel, board member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), was also reportedly sentenced to six months in prison for the alleged “illegal gatherings.” Fateel was arrested on May 2, 2013, and within days of his arrest, the BYSHR reported that he had been tortured in custody, including by electrocution.
“These sentences should end any doubts that Bahrain’s human rights crackdown is intensifying,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The country’s jails are filling up with political prisoners and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture is being shut out of the country. Meanwhile, the Bahrain Minister for Human Rights is in Morocco telling the world his country is a model for human rights. It’s like the Bahraini government is living in a parallel universe. The United States must take a hard look at its Bahrain policy and what options it has to help those under attack in the Kingdom.”
For more information or to speak with Dooley, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at email@example.com or 202-370-3323.