6/18/2020

LA LIBERAZIONE DI RAJAB E IL CARCERE DURO PER I GIORNALISTI DEL BAHRAIN

https://caffedeigiornalisti.it/la-liberazione-di-rajab-e-il-carcere-duro-per-i-giornalisti-del-bahrain/

Image result for ken roth human rights watch

Ken Roth, responsabile della Human Rights Watch, già nel luglio del 2014, all’interno del programma televisivo di Comedy Central intitolato Colbert Report aveva parlato di Rajab e di Nelson Mandela come di importanti difensori dei diritti civili del nostro tempo.

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/5qceid/the-colbert-report-ken-roth




LA LIBERAZIONE DI RAJAB E IL CARCERE DURO PER I GIORNALISTI DEL BAHRAIN

https://caffedeigiornalisti.it/la-liberazione-di-rajab-e-il-carcere-duro-per-i-giornalisti-del-bahrain/

by Adriana Fara
Nabeel Rajab è stato liberato dal Governo del Bahrain nella mattinata del 9 giugno, dopo cinque anni di dura detenzione nelle carceri di massima sicurezza di Jaw. Presidente del Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Rajab è il primo importante uomo politico rilasciato dopo anni, ma restano in carcere ancora 11 giornalisti e importanti attivisti politici internazionali. Nabeel, nel febbraio 2018, era stato condannato a cinque anni di carcere per alcuni tweet che segnalavano torture nelle carceri del Bahrein e il coinvolgimento militare del paese nella guerra in Yemen. Altre accuse, più specifiche, gli erano state mosse nel 2017: “diffondere false voci in tempo di guerra”, “insultare le autorità pubbliche” e “insultare un Paese straniero”. Il primo tweet che ha messo nei guai Nabeel – e che non viene ricordato spesso – è tuttavia del 2012, quando segnalò il reclutamento di jihadisti nella moschea di Busaiteen in Muharraq a Manama, un’area molto vicina al campus universitario irlandese della facoltà di medicina.
Ken Roth, responsabile della Human Rights Watch, già nel luglio del 2014, all’interno del programma televisivo di Comedy Central intitolato Colbert Report aveva parlato di Rajab e di Nelson Mandela come di importanti difensori dei diritti civili del nostro tempo.
Con il passare del tempo, Nabeel è diventato famoso in tutto il mondo per essere stato l’anima e il cuore pulsante della Primavera Araba del 14 febbraio 2011, che ha segnato per sempre i destini della popolazione sciita del piccolo stato del Golfo Persico; un uomo che ha saputo sempre mediare con le autorità e parlare ai sunniti e agli sciiti con il cuore e la ragione. «Siamo felicissimi della notizia della liberazione di Nabeel Rajab», ha detto il rappresentante di Human Rights Watch Aya Majzoub.
Dopo il rilascio di Nabeel Rajab, tuttavia, restano ancora sotto silenzio assoluto e con zero libertà di parola 11 giornalisti bahreniti, finiti in carcere con accuse specifiche legate alla rivolta del 2011. Secondo Sabrina Bennoui, capo della redazione di RSF, «il fatto che undici giornalisti siano ancora detenuti in Bahrein rende lo Stato uno dei più grandi carceri per giornalisti in Medio Oriente, proporzionato al numero di abitanti. Le autorità devono porre fine a queste detenzioni ingiustificate».
Devono essere ancora rilasciati né si hanno notizie di parecchi giornalisti e blogger: tra questi, Hassan Mohamed Qambar, giornalista fotografo freelance già condannato in modo sproporzionato a più di 100 anni di carcere lo scorso dicembre per aver coperto le proteste nel 2011. Le accuse nei suoi confronti sono di aver sostenuto una cellula terroristica filmando le loro attività in Pearl Roundabout nel 2011, pubblicando e inviando i video sui social media e alle redazioni dei giornali internazionali. E ancora: Mahmood Al-Jazeeri, un giornalista condannato a 15 anni di prigione nel 2017 e messo in  isolamento a Jaw, perché aveva rilasciato una dichiarazione dalla sua cella nella quale smentiva il governo sulle misure sanitarie prese per combattere la diffusione di Covid-19 nelle carceri del Bahrain.
In piena pandemia, il Bahrain ha registrato a oggi 18.544 casi, con soli 45 deceduti secondo il Ministero della Salute e nessun lockdown. Per via della epidemia le autorità hanno emanato, il 12 marzo scorso, attraverso una ordinanza reale di Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa la grazia a 901 prigionieri e liberato altri 585 detenuti delle “carceri semplici” che stanno scontando la condanna in centri riabilitativi e di formazione. Secondo il Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), si tratta della più grande amnistia messa in atto dal governo dalla Rivolta di San Valentino del 14 febbraio 2011 contro la monarchia. Nonostante ciò, però, nulla è cambiato per molti: sono rimasti in carcere a Jaw importanti personalità con doppio passaporto e altre nazionalità; sono 21 le organizzazioni umanitarie nel mondo che chiedono la liberazione di attivisti e di giornalisti per i loro ruoli nel movimento di protesta del 2011 a Manama, come Hassan Mushaima, segretario del gruppo di opposizione Al-Haq per la Libertà e la Democrazia, Abdulwahab Hussain, leader dell’opposizione scrittore e filosofo, Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, ex presidente del Bahrain Centre for Human Right in Golfo Persico e padre dell’attivista politica Zeniab Al Khawaja, ormai libera in Europa. e poi Abdel-Jalil al-Singace, portavoce di Al-Haq, ingegnere professore associato all’Università del Bahrain. Importanti figure dell’opposizione, come lo sceicco Ali Salman, segretario generale della Società Islamica Nazionale Al-Wefaq, sciolta con una sentenza del tribunale di Manama il 17 luglio 2017. Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, ritenuto “arbitrariamente detenuto” dalle Nazioni Unite in “rappresaglia” per l’attivismo di suo cognato; Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, in esilio in UK e Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird). Infine, il difensore dei diritti umani  Naji Fateel, membro del Board of Directors of the Bahraini human rights NGO Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR).
Amnesty International li considera prigionieri di coscienza che dovrebbero essere rilasciati immediatamente e incondizionatamente.
Sempre il 9 giugno scorso, le Nazioni Unite si sono espresse finalmente sulla questione della cosiddetta Brigata Zulfiqar e sulla detenzione arbitraria dei suoi membri attraverso il Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – WGAD. Si è pubblicato un documento in merito ai casi di 20 cittadini bahreniti condannati dalla Quarta Corte Penale del Bahrein il 15 maggio 2018, a seguito di un processo di massa contro 138 imputati condannati perché accusati di presunto coinvolgimento in quella cellula terroristica. Secondo la UN, in determinate circostanze, la detenzione diffusa o sistematica o altre gravi privazioni della libertà possono costituire reati contro l’umanità.
Poco prima dell’inizio della pandemia del Covid-19, esattamente il 4 febbraio 202,0 a Roma si sono aperte le porte della prima ambasciata del Bahrain e, con l’occasione, il nostro governo ha siglato con le principali imprese del regno sette accordi commerciali per un valore complessivo di 330 milioni di euro. A siglare i contratti il PrincipeSalman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, primo figlio del re e unico “sostenitore” in famiglia reale della causa sciita. Il Bahrein è al 169 ° posto su 180 Paesi e territori nell’indice Freedom Press World 2020 di RSF .

6/16/2020

Coronavirus: Alarm over 'invasive' Kuwait and Bahrain contact-tracing apps

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-53052395



Kuwait and Bahrain have rolled out some of the most invasive Covid-19 contact-tracing apps in the world, putting the privacy and security of their users at risk, Amnesty International says.
The rights group found the apps were carrying out live or near-live tracking of users' locations by uploading GPS co-ordinates to a central server.
It urged the Gulf states to stop using them in their current forms.
Norway has halted the roll-out of its app because of similar concerns.
The country's data protection authority said the app represented a disproportionate intrusion into users' privacy given the low rate of infection there.
Researchers at Amnesty's Security Lab carried out a technical analysis of 11 apps in Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain's "BeAware Bahrain" and Kuwait's "Shlonik" stood out, along with Norway's "Smittestopp", as being among the most alarming mass surveillance tools, according a report published on Tuesday.
Most contact-tracing apps rely solely on Bluetooth signals, but Bahrain and Kuwait's capture location data through GPS and upload this to a central database, tracking the movements of users in real time.
The researchers say Bahraini and Kuwaiti authorities would easily be able to link this sensitive personal information to an individual, as users are required to register with a national ID number. Other countries' contact tracing apps assure users' anonymity.
Accessing such data could help authorities tackle Covid-19, but Claudio Guarnieri, head of Amnesty's Security Lab, said the apps were "running roughshod over people's privacy, with highly invasive surveillance tools which go far beyond what is justified".
Mr Guarnieri added: "They are essentially broadcasting the locations of users to a government database in real time - this is unlikely to be necessary and proportionate in the context of a public health response. Technology can play a useful role in contact tracing to contain Covid-19, but privacy must not be another casualty as governments rush to roll out apps."
Mohammed al-Maskati, a Bahraini activist who is the Middle East digital protection co-ordinator for the human rights group Front Line Defenders, said there was also a concern the information collected by the apps might be shared with third parties.
Bahrain's app was linked to a television show called "Are You At Home?", which offered prizes to users who stayed at home during Ramadan.
The issues uncovered by Amnesty's investigation are particularly alarming given that the human rights records of Gulf governments are poor.
"When you equip a repressive state with the means to surveil an entire population - whether it's in the name of public safety or not - you can be certain that it's only going to enhance their means of control and repression to then track down dissidents or anyone that they consider to be a public threat. And in a lot of places like the Gulf, that means activists," says Sarah Aoun, chief technologist at privacy campaign organisation Open Tech Fund.
There is also a concern that the technology will continue to be used after the threat of the coronavirus recedes, Ms Aoun adds.
"Historically, there's been no incentive for governments to limit their overreach into people's privacy. On the contrary, if you take a look at 9/11 and the aftermath of that, it essentially ushered a new era of surveillance in the name of protecting citizens. And this time is no different."
Mr Maskati says critics will be unable to rely on regulatory oversight bodies in Gulf states for protection.
"If privacy is violated in a country like Norway, I can resort to regional tools such as the European Court of Human Rights and European Committee of Social Rights. But in our region there is not any such tool. On the contrary, resorting to local authorities may present an additional risk."
A spokesman for Bahrain's government said: "The 'BeAware' app was designed for the sole purpose of advancing contact-tracing efforts and saving lives. It is an entirely voluntary opt-in app... and all users are informed of its use of GPS software before downloading."
"The app plays a vital role in supporting Bahrain's 'Trace, Test, Treat' strategy and has helped to keep Bahrain's Covid-19 death rate at 0.24%. 11,000 individuals have been alerted through the app and prioritised for testing, of which more than 1,500 have tested positive."
Kuwait's government has not responded to the BBC's request for comment.

6/11/2020

BAHRAIN, Nabeel Rajab released but condemned to silence


Reporters Without Borders (RSF)


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved by yesterday’s release of Nabeel Rajab, a blogger and human rights defender who was one of Bahrain’s most emblematic prisoners of conscience, but points out that his freedom is incomplete because he is still denied his right to free speech. RSF also calls for the immediate release of the 11 other journalists held in Bahrain.
The head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab was freed as a result of a court decision to adjust the form of his sentence just four days ahead of the fourth anniversary of his arrest on 13 June 2016.
But he continues to be convicted on the charges on which he was sentenced in February 2018 to five years in prison and he will not be free to express his opinions on human rights issues until the remaining three years of that sentence have expired.
After his arrest in 2016, Rajab was charged with spreading false information and “malicious rumours undermining the prestige of the state” because he had tweeted criticism of the Saudi-backed military intervention in Yemen and had written an open letter for the New York Times in September 2016 and for Le Monde in December 2016 condemning torture in Bahrain’s prisons.
“Nabeel Rajab’s release is a relief, but it has been conditioned on his silence, which shows the authorities are reluctant to allow any real freedom to inform,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “Eleven journalists are still detained in Bahrain, which makes it one of the Middle East’s biggest jailers of journalists relative to population size. The authorities must end these unjustified detentions.”
Rajab’s release has been widely hailed by civil society groups although the overall situation is still worrying. Husain Abdulla, who heads Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), said the pressure needs to be maintained on the Bahraini authorities until they release “journalists and leading bloggers like Mahmood Al-Jazeeri and Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace and all the other prisoners who have been incarcerated solely for expressing their opinion.”
In Bahrain, prison sentences must be served consecutively. Hassan Mohamed Qambar, a journalist already sentenced to more than 100 years in prison, was given an additional life sentence last December. For covering protests in 2011, he was convicted of “supporting a terrorist cell” by “filming their activities, posting the videos on social media and sending them to the media.”
Mahmood Al-Jazeeri, a journalist who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2017, was placed in solitary confinement in April because he issued a statement from his cell denying the government’s claims that measures had been taken to combat the spread of Covid-19 in Bahrain’s prisons.
Bahrain is ranked 169th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

6/09/2020

Bahrain: Prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab released

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/bahrain-prominent-rights-activist-nabeel-rajab-released-200609140300829.html



Rajab was sentenced in 2018 to five years in prison over social media posts criticising Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.




Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been released from prison following a court decision to convert his internationally criticised jail term into an alternative sentence.
Rajab wore a garland of white roses after his release on Tuesday, smiling while posing with his family. He will serve out the remainder of his prison term at home, his family reportedly said.


More:

  • Bahrain accuses Iran of 'biological aggression' over COVID-2019



  • Rajab, an outspoken critic of the Bahraini government and a leading figure in the 2011 pro-democracy protests, was sentenced in 2018 to five years in prison over social media posts accusing authorities of prison abuse and criticising Saudi Arabia's air bombardment in Yemen.
    He had been in jail since 2016 and served another two-year term for torture allegations he made in a news interview. Rajab also faced a number of other cases, and it was unclear how much time he had left to serve.
    Bahrain, where a Sunni Muslim royal family rules over a Shia-majority population, has kept a tight lid on dissent since the Shia opposition staged a failed uprising in 2011.
    The sentence's conversion was possible thanks to new legislation introduced in 2018 that allows Bahrain's courts to convert jail terms into non-custodial sentences.