BAHRAIN: Arrest of Poet, Blogger and Media Professional Jaafar AlAlawy in Bahrain, Capital of Arab Culture 2012

November 8, 2011
Bahrain Center for Human Rights express its deep concern for the arrest and detention of the poet, media professional and blogger Jaafar AlAlawy (27 years old) this morning in a move that reflects the continuation of the Bahraini authorities in its campaign targeting the media professionals and its non-compliance with international treaties which it signed to respect freedoms, especially freedom of expression. BCHR is even more concerned for the safety of AlAlawy as a result of information received previously of many cases of torture and ill-treatment of journalists in Bahraini prisons.
According to the information the centre received, the house of Jaafar AlAlawy in the village of Buri was cordoned off by the security forces this morning November 8, 2011, after a number of children reached the house after being sought by the security. The security forces raided AlAlawy’s house and searched it then summoned him for investigation at the police station at the first roundabout in Hamad Town. He later called his family from Qalaah detention center (Ministry of Interior Head Quarter in Manama) to tell them that he is detained pending investigation. It is not clear what is the subject of the investigation or if there are any formal charges. Jaafar AlAlawy is a former media professional at the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation under the Information Affairs Authority of Bahrain. He was dismissed from his job in a wave of unfair dismissal in the past months, which affected thousands of workers on the backdrop of their political and religious affiliation. He is a cultural journalist and editor who worked for a number of local newspapers, he is a published poet "non-political", a leader of the youth cultural program "Taa AlShabab" of the ministry of culture, a blogger and a tweep (@jaffaralalawy) on Twitter, where he often publishs lines of his poems and personal thoughts, which are described as moderate and sometimes sarcastic. (a sample of his poems)
The Bahrain Centre is concerned at the continuing detention of Jaafar AlAlawy although it's not clear that he has committed any crime. BCHR fears that this detention is due to being a media professional who have expressed views in support of democracy. BCHR also expresses fears for the safety of AlAlawy in custody and in particular that this arrest comes amid long campaign of targeting media people and continuous torture at detention centres as happened before with Faisal Hyat, Mohammed Haidar, Mazen Mahdi, Mohammed AlSheikh and Nazeeha Saeed whom the authorities claimed there is no warrant for her arrest while she was detained for more than 12 hours in the southern province police station, during which she was subjected to different forms of torture, and the same happened to other media professionals who have reported details of the torture in custody to BCHR. The Center take the Bahraini authorities fully responsible for any harm to the safety of AlAlawy.
Also, the Center expresses its condemnation of the international community continues support to the Bahraini authorities in the campaign of faking the truth and reality of status of freedom of expression in Bahrain, which is shown through selection of Bahrain as the capital of Arab Culture 2012, as well as the accepted membership at the UNESCO International Bureau of Education, the steps that do not contribute in any way to the respect for freedom of expression in Bahrain, but expresses support for the regime which did not stop the arrests, torture and killing of those who exercise this freedom, especially from the media people and bloggers, who were chased with all forms of assaults including the dismissal from jobs, prosecution, military trials, long prison sentences and forced exile against the backdrop of their views in support to democracy.

The Bahrain Center demands from the Bahraini authorities and all responsible parties:
• The release of the poet Jaafar AlAlawy immediately, and compensate him for any damages incurred as a result of his detention, as well as the release of all detainees, including activists and human rights defenders and journalists because they had been arrested for reasons related to exercising their fundamental right to peaceful expression of opinion, as guaranteed to them by international conventions.
• Immediate cessation of torture, and bring those responsible to public trial, and to compensate those affected by the violations.
• Cancel all actions that would restrict freedom of opinion and expression and to stop targeting journalists in all forms of violations including dismissal from work and forced exile, and provide compensation for damage caused to them.
• Commitment to International covenants and respect for all forms of freedom of expression and publication as provided for in the international covenants and charters, especially Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that: " Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. "
The international community should take clear positions, and support the right of Bahrainis to express their views in accordance with the Universal Declaration of human rights without being subjected to harm and arrest as a result of exercising this freedom. As well as stop supporting regimes that reflect the lack of respect for this freedom and exercise the most heinous violations to the person who try to exercise freedom of expression.

More information on assaults on media people in Bahrain:
Bahrain regime continues to target freedom of expression by taking journalists and photographers to trials that criminalize their exercise of that freedom
Bahrain Press Association "BPA" report: "Word Leading to Death"
BCHR List of registered assaults on media people