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Activist prevented from speaking at mosque after criticising ruling elite

(BCHR/IFEX) - For two weeks in a row, reforms activist Hasan Mushaima has been prevented from reaching the Al-Sadeq mosque in the capital city of Manama, where he used to deliver a speech after the Friday evening prayers. Heavily armed foreign mercenaries were deployed to take over the area of the mosque, preventing its caretaker from opening it for prayers and blocking those who attend the mosque from entering its parking lot.

Mushaima is the secretary general of the HAQ Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy, a civil society organisation that is calling for respect for human rights, the combating of corruption and political naturalization, as well as good governance. In his speech, Mushaima speaks about human rights violations, economic rights, prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders. He also calls for democratisation and is a loud critic of corruption and the role of the ruling elite and the Executive in the misappropriation of lands and administering a change of demography plan. Mushaima participates regularly in an event on human rights and political developments in Bahrain sponsored by Lord Eric Avebury, the vice chairman of the Human Rights Parliamentary Group in the House of Lords, an activity fiercely attacked by the Bahraini authorities-controlled media.

Nabil Rajab, the president of BCHR, has been near the Al-Sadeq mosque and has witnessed the heavy security presence that was put in place to prevent Mushaima and those who want to pray from coming close to the mosque. Rajab stated: "The action of the local authorities to prevent Mr Mushaima from addressing the public is a blatant violation of freedom of expression as stated in Article 19 of the ICCPR ratified by Bahrain on September 20, 2006."

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