12/09/2011

Bahraini activists allegedly threatened by former government official on Twitter

UNCUTSeveral Bahraini human rights activists have been sent threatening twitter messages during the past few days. Hostile messages were allegedly to Mohammed Al-Maskati, President of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), and Yousif Almuhafda, who also works for BCHR, from a twitter account (@ADEL_FELAIFEL) allegedly operated by former colonel in the State Security and Intelligence Service, Adil Felaifel. According to Al-Maskati, one tweet, which came from the now deleted account, were directed towards himself and AlMuhafda, and said: ”Do not think that because I’m not in the Ministry of Interior, I will shut up about you.”
Another tweet aimed at Maskati and Rajab said: ”Maskati and Nabeel Rajab your future death and hell.”
Human rights activists in Bahrain, particularly those active on the popular social media site have endured regular attacks from “trolls” who regularly bombard individuals that send tweets to the Bahrain hashtag. The online attacks, which attempt to fan sectarian differences, are carried out by what activists call “e-thugs”, who are pro-Bahraini government activists as well as accounts believed to be run by government officials.
While twitter attacks have become commonplace for activists, Al Muskati felt that the potential threats from Adil Felaifel, who some believe is one of those responsible for overseeing torture in the 1980s and 1990s, changes the tone of the tweets. He said, “what’s different is that he is an ex-torturer who feels that he can threaten Human Rights Defenders publicly with impunity, knowing that no one will hold him accountable.”