Human rights defender Al-Maskati facing trial on November 6
Published on Front Line (http://www.frontlinedefenders.org)
Bahrain: Human rights defender Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati facing trial on 6 November 2008
Created 2008/11/03 - 19:01
Front Line is concerned by reports received that Bahraini human rights defender Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati will face trial on the 6 November 2008 charged with “running an unlicenced association.” Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati is the founder of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR), which organises training workshops, monitors and documents human rights violations and participates in forming a regional network for young human rights activists in eight Arab countries. Front Line previously wrote to you on 12 December 2007 in relation with this case.
Posted 04/10/2008 On 27 November, 2007, Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati was called to present himself at the Fourth Minor Criminal Court on charges of “activating [...an...] unregistered association before issuing the declaration of registration,” a charge with bears a punishment of a maximum of six months imprisonment and/ or a fine of 500 Bahrainian Dinars (approximately 1,000 Euros). The trial of Mohamed Abdul Al-Maskati was then postponed until 21 January 2008 which was a public holiday. No further action was subsequently taken until he was served with another warrant in June 2008 under a different case number requesting his presence in court on November 6th, 2008.
The BYSHR originally applied for registration as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in June 2005, but has never received an official response from the Bahraini government. Prior to the arrest of Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati, the BYSHR received notification from the Ministry of Social Affairs that the organisation's leader would be prosecuted if they did not cease their activities. Such charges are made under the Bahraini Penal Code of 1976 and the Association Law of 1989, which require NGOs to register with the authorities. In practice, this legislation affords the authorities the opportunity to impede the activities of human rights organisations and civil society movements. Front Line is concerned that Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati has been targeted as a result of his legitimate work in the defence of human rights. Front Line is concerned that the travel ban forms part of an ongoing trend of harassment against human rights defenders in Bahrain.