Bahrain: Blogger in Jail for Four Months

Bahraini blogger and human rights activist Abdulla Mohsen (Ar) has been behind bars for more than four months, according to Nido.

Nido explains:

Abdulla Mohsen has been in prison now more than four months. What is he accused of? Well apparently he and more than thirty others are accused of being involved in the theft of a weapon and in burning a police jeep. This, if you will remember, happened way back in December after the protest that accompanied the funeral of Ali Jassem, who died in as yet unclear circumstances after participating in a demonstration on December 17. Dozens of people were arrested, including Abdulla.

Nido adds, that the blogger's health is a cause of concern. He writes:

In any case, several sources indicated that Abdulla’s health situation is a constant worry. Apparently he is suffering from severe kidney problems, and his family are very worried about his situation. At one point he even had to be moved to the hospital due to his deteriorating health. His family have been kept in the dark with minimal information about his status or whereabouts.

What is infuriating Nido most, however, is the total lack of empathy from bloggers and online activists to Abdulla's plight. He says:

The situation is very depressing. There are several reports of torture and beatings of the detainees. There isn’t much that we can do except bring attention to Abdulla’s and the rest of the detainees’ plight. Other than the Arabic forums, there has been very little coverage or discussion online about their situation, unlike previous cases of bloggers being arrested or brought to prosecution. If you have a blog or a forum or even a contact somewhere, I ask you that you please write about them, put a post up, or at least raise their issue. This is the least we can do, as one can only imagine what they are going through.

Chanad Bahraini picks off where Nido left and writes:

As Nido points out, Abdullah would not hurt a fly, and the charges against him are clearly cooked up. I got to know him at the countless protests and demonstrations he attended, always in his dark suit and white shirt (no tie), quiet, very polite, and an extremely nice guy.

He also draws our attention to another activist behind bars – Hassan Abdulnabi – and says:

Another regular activist who has been detained is Hassan Abdulnabi. I have only met him once, but always saw him at the protests. He was always at the frontlines doing his best to prevent any conflict between the riot police and the demonstrators. He has been in and out of jail because of his activities with the Unemployment Comittee, and was seriously injured at least once after being attacked by riot police in 2005, leaving him on crutches for several weeks.

Once again he faces state violence.

Chanad goes further and adds:

Obviously, the men have been rounded up not because there is any evidence against them, but because they dared to speak out. They will hopefully be released eventually — but not without first giving them, and other potential activists, something to think about before speaking out again.

Abdulla Mohsen, who is still awaiting trial, is not in jail for his blogging activities. The Bahrain Human Rights Centre has been active in calling for Mohsen's release, along with the other activists rounded up after the December protests. The centre itself is banned in Bahrain and its website is blocked.

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