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Court holds mass hearing for human rights activists

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 27 October 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that the Supreme Criminal Court will hold a session tomorrow for 23 political and human rights activists in Bahrain among whom are the blogger Ali Abdulemam and Dr. Mohammed Saeed, board member of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), banned by the Bahraini government. The court will charge them with planning to topple the government, committing terrorist acts, inciting the public to overthrow authorities and ruining the constitution.

The Bahraini government has recently launched a crackdown on activists and Shiite human rights defenders before the public elections that were run a few days ago. Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace was arrested in August 2010 as well as activists and Shiite leaders Soliman Nagui, Abdallah al-Mahrous and other political and rights activists. There was news about them being tortured and complicit prosecution that was unfair regarding the complaints of physical and psychological torture. Following this, the Bahraini prosecution decided to prohibit media outlets from publishing news on the case. Moreover, the Bahraini government blocked websites that published stories on incidents of torture and investigations.

Accordind to ANHRI, "Bahraini security detained the activists for a long time without trial. Then the activists were charged with fabricated criminal charges for defending Shiite rights, enjoying their right to expression and exposing the human rights violations committed by the Bahraini government. There is a possibility that the aim of the crackdown is to keep the activists away from the elections so that they could not expose the violations of the Bahraini government."

ANHRI added, "The Bahraini judiciary should hold a fair trial such that the activists would have the right to defense. The court should drop the fabricated charges against the activists, who are calling for democracy and respect for human rights in Bahrain. There must be an inquiry into the torture allegations, problems with the prosecution and the perpetrators should be held responsible."

ANHRI calls on all stakeholders in Bahrain and world-wide to follow the trial and attend the hearing that will be held at the Supreme Criminal Court in the Ministry of Justice and Social Affairs.
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