INTERNET ACTIVISTS DEMAND RELEASE OF BAHRAINI BLOGGER MOHAMMED HASSAN
Global Voices Advocacy and bloggers around the world are calling for the release of Mohammed Hassan (Safybh), a young Bahraini blogger and human rights advocate who has been held in detention in Bahrain since July.
Hassan was arrested and taken from his home in Sitra, Bahrain on the morning of July 31. Security agents seized Hassan's computer and other electronics. He was held at the Criminal Investigation Directorate in Manama until August 4, when he was reportedly transferred to Dry Dock Detention Center in the town of Hidd.
His lawyer, Abdulaziz Moosa, was arrested on August 7, allegedly for stating that Hassan had been exposed to torture while in prison.
Hassan reportedly has been charged with being a member of the 14 February Media Network, calling for and participating in public demonstrations, inciting hatred against the government and being in contact with exiled members of the the Bahraini opposition. Multiple sources have reported that he has been beaten while in prison, and forced to confess to charges against him.
Global Voices Advocacy, an international citizen media advocacy network, is calling for Hassan's release. Bahraini activist and Global Voices author Ali Abdulemam, who recently fled Bahrain after enduring years of persecution by authorities, has been active in pressing for Hassan's release. Currently living with political asylum in the UK, Abdulemam has urged international NGOs and foreign governments to intervene on Hassan's behalf:
We are asking for the release of Mohamed Hassan and all bloggers and activists who have been imprisoned because of their efforts to protect human rights and make our society more open. We should not have to sacrifice our rights to free expression and assembly for the safety and security of the state.
Authorities have harassed and detained Hassan several times since early 2012. He was previously summoned for interrogation in June 2012 in connection with his writing and involvement in supporting reforms in the country.
Hassan has long promoted democratic values, protections for human rights, and peace in Bahrain. In 2011, he played an active role in the first Bahraini dialogue, held in Manama. A blogger and author for Global Voices Online, Hassan often covered human rights and politics in Bahrain on his blog, Safybh. Hassan stopped blogging on April 29, 2013.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both enshrine the right to freedom of expression. As party to both documents, the Kingdom of Bahrain has agreed to protect its citizens rights to speak freely. United Nations representatives have on multiple occasions stressed that these rights must be applied in traditional media as well as online.
We urge the government of Bahrain to release Hassan and call on international NGOs, foreign governments, and other powerful entities to join us in advocating for Hassan's freedom.
For more information or interviews, contact Hisham Almiraat (Director, Global Voices Advocacy) or Ellery Biddle (Editor, Global Voices Advocacy) at advocacy [at] globalvoicesonline [dot] org
We urge readers to share this story widely. Use hashtag #FreeSafy and tweet links to this press release or recent reports by Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Use the campaign image below to highlight his case. We thank everyone for their support!