Tag Archives: Bahrain

NSO ‘found on phones of Jordanian and Bahraini women’s rights activists’


Two female activists for women’s rights in the Arab world have been targeted by the Pegasus spyware belonging to the Israeli NSO group, a new investigation revealed on Monday.

The investigation, carried out by Ireland-based human rights group Front Line Defenders, said that the phones of a Jordanian and a Bahraini women’s rights activist were hacked multiple times using the Pegasus spyware, which has been purchased by several repressive governments in the world.

“We cannot directly comment on a report we haven’t seen, nor investigate based on names received in a press inquiry,” the NSO told Israeli daily Haaretz following the investigation.

The two targets are Bahraini human rights activist Ebtisam Al-Saegh, who has been arrested in Bahrain for her activism in the past, and Jordanian human rights lawyer Hala Ahed Deeb, who represents the country’s biggest union and served as the head of the legal committee of the Jordanian Women’s Union.

The report stressed the gendered impact of NSO’s surveillance: “[Women targets] live in fear of how their personal information, including private photos, videos, and conversations, could be used against them at any given point, opening the door for harassment and abuse.”

Marketed to governments for use solely against terrorists and criminals, Pegasus has been abused by NSO customers to spy on human rights activists, journalists, and politicians from Saudi Arabia to Mexico.





Bahrain Minister of Justice Should not Use Disciplinary Proceedings to Sanction Lawyers Exercising their Freedom of Expression


In a hearing held on March 22, 2021, the Lawyers’ Disciplinary Board in Bahrain decided to prohibit prominent human rights lawyer Abdullah Alshamlawi from practicing his profession for one year.

The decision followed a complaint filed with the Lawyers Disciplinary Council against Mr. Alshamlawi by Minister of Justice Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, who is the only one authorized to file disciplinary actions before the Council.  

This case stems from a tweet published by Mr. Alshamlawi from his personal Twitter account, wherein he criticized the religious practices of a Muslim sect. As a result of that tweet, a criminal proceeding was brought against Mr. Alshamlawi, at the behest of an individual who allegedly was a victim of the tweet, charging him with two criminal acts: (1) Publicly inciting hatred and disrespecting a community group, and (2) deliberately inconveniencing others by misuse of his communication devices. 

On June 30, 2020, Mr. Alshamlawi was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, with bail imposed in lieu of execution of the punishment.

Following the sentence, the alleged victim on whose behalf the criminal charges were brought reconciled with Mr. Alshamlawi and agreed to waive his complaint. Subsequently, Mr. Alshamlawi appealed the judgment before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result of the waiver, the Court of Appeals agreed to close the case with respect to the charge of deliberately inconveniencing others by misuse of communication devices but upheld the conviction on the first charge of public incitement of hatred and disrespecting a community group. The Court, however, suspended the sentence for three years.

Mr. Alshamlawi challenged this judgment before the Court of Cassation, but on January 11, 2021, the Court of Cassation affirmed the appellate judgment.  

Following the resolution of the criminal case, the Minister of Justice then sought disciplinary action against Mr. Alshamlawi in his capacity as a lawyer. The Minister referred the matter to the Lawyer’s Disciplinary Council, alleging violation of Article 43 of the Bahraini Advocacy Law, which provides that any attorney who violates the principles of this law, breaches his professional duties, or commits an act that degrades the profession or affects the honor or traditions of the profession, will be subject to one of the following disciplinary punishments:







Bahrain: Bahrain charges lawyer of sharing “fake news” for his Tweets

May 15, 2019


Bahrain’s Public Prosecution says it is charging a person, identified by a rights group as a prominent lawyer, for misusing social media and publishing fake news that can harm public order.

The prosecution did not name the individual in its statement, but the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy identified him as lawyer and human rights campaigner Abdullah Hashim, who’d tweeted early Wednesday that he’d been summoned by prosecutors.

Prosecutors say they found a long history of comments on his Twitter account that question the state and its ability to maintain security and protect the public.

The rights group says it confirmed that prosecutors also ordered the lawyer be detained for one week, describing it as a continuation of the government’s crackdown on freedom of expression.

Bahrain charges lawyer of sharing “fake news” for his Tweets




Bahrain: Another three Bahraini activists summoned for questioning

September 15, 2017

The head of the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO), Jalila al-Salman, human rights lawyer, Mohammed Issa al-Tajer, and an activist with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Hussein Radhi have been ordered to appear for questioning before Manama’s public prosecutor on Thursday.
The names are the latest additions to the rapidly expanding list of activists and journalists being subjected to trumped-up charges and travel bans.

During the course of a week, more than ten political and human rights activists have been summoned for interrogation by the public prosecutor.

On Wednesday, Jalila al-Salman was prevented from leaving Bahrain as she attempted to cross the causeway connecting the kingdom with neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Activists say the measures are designed to keep them away from international forums like the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), which runs between September 11 and September 29 in Geneva.




Bahrain: Bahrain lawyer arrested for suing over Qatar blockade

June 14, 2017

A prominent human rights lawyer in Bahrain has been arrested after launching a lawsuit against the government over its restrictions imposed on neighbouring Qatar.

Issa Faraj Arhama al-Burshaid was detained after challenging Manama’s sanctions, which include blocking Qataris from staying in the country along with other economic penalties.

He filed the case with the Supreme Administrative Court in Manama against the Cabinet, Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry.

He described the measures taken by his country against Qatar as “arbitrary”.

“This siege has broken up family ties and hurt all Bahraini families,” said Burshaid. “The decision to cut diplomatic relations violates Bahrain’s constitution and laws.

Bahrain on Thursday declared it a crime – punishable by imprisonment of up to five years and a fine – to show “sympathy or favouritism” to Qatar or to object in any way to Bahrain’s decision to break relations and impose economic and border restrictions on its neighbour.






Bahrain: After 282 days of arbitrary detention, human rights defender Nabeel Rajab’s trial postponed once again

March 23, 2017

On 22 March 2017, Manama’s Fifth High Criminal Court postponed again Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab’s trial in the Twitter case, in clear contempt of international human rights standards. His arbitrary detention and judicial harassment are only meant to silence one of Bahrain’s most vocal human rights defenders, say the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Front Line Defenders, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT).

Arbitrarily detained since 13 June 2016, Nabeel Rajab is facing a series of charges and up to 18 years in prison. In the “Twitter case”, ongoing since 02 April 2015, Nabeel Rajab is accused of “deliberately spreading false information and malicious rumours with the aim of discrediting the State”, “disseminating false rumours in time of war”, “insulting a statutory body” and “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]” in relation to Tweets denouncing the torture of detainees in the Kingdom’s Jaw Prison and human rights violations perpetrated by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen. The thirteenth hearing is scheduled on 17 May 2017. In addition, Nabeel Rajab is facing charges of “spreading false information and malicious rumours about domestic matters with the aim of discrediting and adversely affecting the State’s prestige” in a separate case related to three televised interviews made in 2015 and 2016 in which Nabeel Rajab exposed Bahrain’s poor human rights record. The next hearing in that case is on 3 May 2017.

“Despite a court order to temporarily release him following a failure to give any sufficient evidence in the Twitter case, Nabeel Rajab remains arbitrarily detained. Arbitrary and solitary detention, endless postponements, denial of visa for international human rights NGOs have been jeopardising the judicial process. Bahrain is failing its international obligations and makes a mockery of justice,” declared the organisations.

Further investigations are underway and may lead to additional charges, including “intentionally broadcasting false news and malicious rumours abroad impairing the prestige of the state” following the publication on 05 September 2016 of an Op-Ed in The New York Times with his by-line, which discussed the conditions of his imprisonment and arrest.



http://www.omct.org/files/2017/03/24260/bahrain_joint_230317__.pdf (ARABIC)

Bahrain: Human Rights Lawyer Charged

December 1, 2016

MENA Bahrain Mohamed al-Tajer

Bahraini authorities have charged a prominent human rights lawyer with offenses that violate his right to free expression.

Mohamed al-Tajer, who has defended opposition figures and rights activists, told Human Rights Watch that a public prosecutor brought three charges against him on November 10, 2016: insulting government institutions, inciting hatred of a religious sect, and misusing a telecommunications appliance. In a private WhatsApp voice message that public prosecutors cited in support of the charges, al-Tajer says, “It’s clear that there’s a team in the public prosecution and Cybercrimes division whose only job is to sit at computers and intercept every word about Sunnis, Saudi Arabia, hatred of the regime, or insults against the king.”




https://www.hrw.org/ar/news/2016/12/01/297082 (ARABIC)

http://www.idhae.org/observatoire-fr-page4.1.bahr111016.htm (FRANCAIS)


Bahrain: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns about the harassment and imminent expulsion of lawyer Taimoor Karimi in Bahrain

June 24, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns about the harassment and imminent expulsion of lawyer Taimoor Karimi in Bahrain.

Taimoor Karimi is a Shi’ite Muslim lawyer who took part in Bahrain’s pro-democracy protests in 2011 and defended some of the prominent activists who were jailed afterwards. In 2014, Taimoor Karimi was one of 10 individuals whose Bahraini citizenship was withdrawn without due process. Bahraini authorities have obstructed Taimoor Karimi’s right of appeal and refused to justify the decision to revoke his citizenship. Taimoor Karimi has fought the order for three years, during which time he has lost his government-issued identification, job and bank account.

On 10 August 2014, the public prosecutor issued a court summons to Taimoor Karimi for “violations of asylum and immigration law” that include remaining in Bahrain without the residence licence that all non-nationals over 16 are required to have. Since the Appeal Court in Manama upheld his sentence on 23 May, he has been at imminent risk of expulsion from Bahrain.

The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the government of Bahrain to consider Articles 16 and 23 of the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

Article 16 states:

Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economics or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.


http://www.newswire.ca/fr/news-releases/declaration-publique—le-barreau-du-haut-canada-tres-preoccupe-par-le-harcelement-et-lexpulsion-imminente-de-lavocat-taimoor-karimi-584265411.html (FRANCAIS)


May 24, 2016

Bahraini lawyer, Taimoor Karimi, was stripped of his nationality in 2012 and has been effectively rendered stateless. He is at risk of imminent expulsion after the Appeal Court in Manama upheld his sentence on 23 May.
Bahraini lawyer Taimoor Karimi had his expulsion sentence upheld on 23 May by the Appeal Court in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. He may be expelled at any time and he has not been informed of the country where he will be expelled to.
Taimoor Karimi was among a group of 31 people who had their nationality revoked on 7 November 2012 by the Ministry of Interior for “harming” state security under Article 10 (Paragraph C) of the Bahrain Citizenship Law. The 31 included activists living abroad, a lawyer, a number of people active in politics within Bahrain, a number of Shi’a clerics and others with no known political or religious affiliation. They were never officially notified of this decision, and learned about it from the media the day it was announced. Most of those living in Bahrain, including Taimoor Karimi, do not have another nationality and have been effectively rendered stateless. On 28 October 2014 a Court of First Instance sentenced them to be expelled and ordered them to pay a 100 Bahraini Dinar fine (about US$ 265). A number of the 31 appealed the sentence.


Bahrain: Ali Isa Al-Tajer charged following torture in prison

December 3, 2015

Ali Isa Al-Tajer, brother of human rights lawyer Mohammed Al- Tajer, has been charged on baseless grounds. Since his detention a month ago he has been also subjected to torture and was forced to sign confessional papers.

On 30 November 2015 at approximately 2:30pm the public prosecution called Mohammed Al-Tajer and told him that investigations against Ali Isa Al-Tajer were to start at 3pm that day.

The defence lawyers stated that Ali Isa looked pale and frightened in the courtroom and believed that he was threatened in the court before the hearing began. A request from the lawyers to meet Ali Isa before the hearing was denied and the five minutes that were granted with him after the hearing were conducted in the presence of three policemen.

The charges brought against Ali Isa include, joining a terrorist organisation to overthrow the government by force and training individuals to use weapons for terrorist purposes. Despite the prosecutor’s attempts to get him to admit to the charges in court he denied all the charges. However, the prosecutor told the court that Ali Isa signed papers confessing to the charges. Ali Isa told the court that he was subjected to torture and forced to sign the papers when he was blindfolded.