Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Security forces assault journalists covering repression of protest

Security forces assault journalists covering repression of protest

Country/Topic: Bahrain
Date: 31 December 2007
Source: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
Person(s): Ali Al-Shehabi, Husain Al-Orrayed, Mohammed Al-Mukharraq
Urgency: Threat

(BCHR/IFEX) - According to the Bahraini Journalists Association (BJA) and eye witnesses, on 25 December 2007, the Bahraini Security Forces (BSF) harassed and verbally and physically assaulted journalists Ali Al-Shehabi (of "Al-Al-Ayam" newspaper), Husain Al-Orrayed (of "Al-Waqt" newspaper) and Mohammed Al-Mukharraq (of "Al-Wasat" newspaper).

The BSF officers also confiscated the journalists' mobile phones. The BSF took these actions to prevent the journalists from reporting on the attack these forces were staging against a peaceful protest taking place outside the public prosecutor's office.

Relatives of detained individuals were holding a sit-in, demanding to see family members who had been arrested in prior days. The public prosecutor refused their request, amidst spreading rumours that the detainees were being subject to torture. The BSF forcefully dispersed the protestors. The BSF officers also assaulted the journalists to prevent them from reporting on the incident.

The BCHR expresses its concern over the actions of the BSF, which violate the journalists' right to freedom of expression and to collect and impart information, and which reflect poorly on the attitude of local authorities towards freedom of expression and the practise of journalism in Bahrain.

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: http://www.bahrainrights.org/