UPDATE: Mohammed Al-Maskati was acquitted of charges against him on 7 January 2015.
This statement was originally published on 18 December 2015.
Outspoken Bahraini human rights defender Mohammed Al-Maskati faces six months in prison if an appeals court upholds a sentence handed down one year ago for his human rights activities. The undersigned organisations call for the verdict to be overturned when his case is heard by the Court of Appeals on 22 December 2015, and call for an end to the more than three years of judicial harassment of Al-Maskati.
Al-Maskati is the founder and former president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), and is currently a digital security consultant at Front Line Defenders. On 31 December 2014, the Lower Criminal Court in Bahrain sentenced him to six months in prison but he remained free on bail of 100 BHD until the appeal.
On 16 October 2012, Al-Maskati was first summoned for interrogation at Al-Naem police station. He was then arrested and brought the following day before the public prosecution on charges of allegedly “rioting and participating in an illegal gathering.” The charges were in reference to a Friday protest in Manama (on 12 October 2012) entitled “Self-determination”. He was released the following day after interrogation, and brought to trial in June 2013. For more on his case, click here.
Al-Maskati has been active in documenting and reporting violations committed by the Bahraini authorities in recent years. A few weeks before his arrest in October 2012, he had participated in side events at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. The undersigned organisations call on the UN and its member states to take action to protect Al-Maskati and all human rights defenders who participate in UN events.
The organisations are gravely concerned that the sentencing of Mohammed Al-Maskati is part of an on-going trend of politically-motivated charges being used against human rights defenders and activists in Bahrain in an effort to stop them from carrying out their legitimate human rights work.
Please add your voice on twitter using the hashtag #DropAlMaskatiCharges and join the call for the Bahraini authorities to end the judicial harassment of Mohammed Al-Maskati and other human rights defenders, for the sentence against him to be overturned, and to refrain from exploiting the judicial system for political purposes.
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Social Media Exchange - SMEX
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR)
FIDH, within the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Front Line Defenders
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders