Detained journalists and bloggers appear in court
30 January, 2014 – Reporters without Borders
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its condemnation of the arbitrary behaviour of the Bahraini judicial system, which has postponed the trials of several detained news and information providers in the past two weeks.
The judicial authorities must abandon all the trumped-up charges they have brought against journalists just because they covered anti-government street protests, the media freedom organization said.
Reporters Without Borders also calls on the authorities to systematically order independent investigations whenever torture and mistreatment in detention is alleged. Failure to investigate violates article 12 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
RWB and nine other human rights groups wrote to Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, and Juan Méndez, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on 15 December asking them to investigate the arrests, detention and torture of three Bahraini journalists.
Arrested for covering recent protests, the three journalists – reporter Mohamed Hassan, freelance photographer Hussain Hubail and freelance cameraman Qassim Zain AlDeen – all say they were tortured. Hassan has been released but Hubail and Deen are still held.
In the latest act of judicial foot-dragging, a judge yesterday postponed the well-known photographer Ahmed Humeidan’s trial until 26 March, when a verdict is supposed to be issued. He has been held since December 2012 on a charge of attacking a police station in Sitra in April 2012, although he was not even there at the time.
His trial began last February but the prosecution kept on postponing hearings because it had difficulty producing witnesses. His lawyer has repeatedly but unsuccessfully requested an independent investigation into his client’s allegations of torture. His requests to the prison authorities to let his client be examined by a doctor have also been unsuccessful.
On 27 January, the trial of the freelance photographer Hussain Hubail and the blogger Jassim Al-Nuaimi were postponed until 16 February for the final defence statements. …more