We just received the following news from the Bahrain Human Rights Society alerting us about the missing of our dear friend and colleague Ali Abdulemam.
Ali Abdulemam, a leading Bahraini blogger and Global Voices Advocacy author, has been arrested earlier on 4 September 2010 and released on 23 February 2011 after Bahrain King ordered the release of group of prisoners, including political prisoners and activists, among them Ali:
Ali AbdulEmam, know by some by his nickname “the blog-father” for setting up the first free uncensored online forum in Bahrain for political and social debate, is today missing from his home and his family are unable to establish contact with him.
His Uncle described the scene last night when 50 heavily armed policemen came to arrest him, just a few weeks after he was released as a part of concessions to placate Bahraini protesters. He had been accused of being part of an “organisational cell” and was known as one of the 25, who were arrested for plotting to overthrow the government.
At around quarter past one in the morning of the 18th of March the housing complex in Aali were Ali rented a flat from one of his cousin awoke to hear the metal gate outside being riddled with bullets.
Around 50 masked and heavily armed security personel then proceeded to break down the wooden door of the house. Ali's cousin, his wife and his daughter were asleep in the ground floor flat. They burst in on them before the wife or the daughter had a chance to cover up and demanded to know where Ali was while pointing a gun at their faces.
They replied that Ali and his wife had not been home for three days and they had no idea where he was. Incensed that their repeated questions were not yeilding any results, they trashed the house and then moved up a floor where there were two more flats and kicked the doors in. One was Ali's flat that had been vacated a few days ago in response to the growing threats, and the other belonged to another family who had nothing to do with the situation. The other family were also not there and it is believed that Ali may have hinted to them to stay with relatives.
After tearing the flats apart and breaking everything they could, they filled a large suitcase with every kind of camera, hard drive, video recorder or DVD that they could find. They then returned to the terrified occupants of the ground floor and repeated their demands, this time threatening to take the daughter instead. The Father and Mother said they would take their daughter only over their dead bodies, after a short stand off the police backed off, possibly realising that the family really had no idea where Ali or his wife and children were. They had left the house three days previously for a secret location, but had been phoning family members to reassure them of their safety. Now the lines of communication are dead and the family have no idea if he is in Bahrain or if he managed to get out of the country, or if the police have caught up with him.
An interview with Ali AbdulEmam after his release from prison can be found here:
There’s more here from Index on Censorship
I am concerned about Ali’s last tweet which was unusual and out of character and appears to have been sent from near the police college:
BBC now reporting Ali is in hiding:
Official charges announced against Ali Abdulemam along with another 20 activists on 7 May 2011. He is being tried in absentia and trial started on 8 May 2011.