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Authorities impose publication ban on the case of minister accused of money laundering

(BCHR/IFEX) - 18 April 2010 - The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) express their grave concern towards the Bahraini Authorities' persistence in its attempts to violate the right of people to receive information, especially the information that has a direct influence on the fundamental rights of citizens. This time the matter was represented in the Public Prosecution's decision to ban the publication and circulation of all news, comments and details regarding the case of State Minister Mansoor bin Rajab, who is accused of money laundering. This ban only took place after the defense lawyer requested the Public Prosecution to summon one of the members of the ruling family to testify in the case.

What is the truth behind the dismissed Minister? What is his relation to opium and the money laundering of the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah?

In a case that preoccupied domestic and foreign public opinion, the State Minister Mansoor bin Rajab was arrested on Thursday 18 March, and was later released on his own recognizance after he was questioned on the charge of carrying out money laundering inside the country and abroad, as was stated by the Assistant Under-Secretary for the Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Brigadier General Mohammed Rashid Bouhmod.

From the first moment, several newspapers and local, gulf and international news agencies were quick to publish news and information which they had drawn from Bahraini sources, who refused to mention their names, that the money concerned is the money of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and is the outcome of smuggling opium. The same sources mentioned that that money is connected to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Yet, some news, especially in those newspapers with a close relation to the Authority, went as far as indicating that the Minister possesses photos of military sites which he intended to hand over to Iran. By following up on the sources of information and panels that initiated the publishing and promotion of the information, it appeared that the information that connected the dismissed Minister and Iran was fabricated and leaked from the Department of Foreign Media at the Ministry of Information and the media team at the Royal Court and National Security Apparatus. The Department of Foreign Media that led the campaign against the State Minister is only affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Information superficially, while it works as part of the National Security Apparatus (NSA). The department was previously headed by the current head of National Security Apparatus, Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, while it is now headed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmed, the former vice-president of the NSA.

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