Amnesty International Calls on Bahraini Authorities to Reveal Whereabouts of Eight Arrested Human Rights Defenders

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org 

Amnesty International Calls on Bahraini Authorities to Reveal Whereabouts of Eight Arrested Human Rights Defenders

WASHINGTON - Amnesty International today called on
the Bahraini authorities to reveal the whereabouts of eight human rights
defenders, political activists and Shi'a clerics arrested in a clampdown
by the authorities. The human rights organization fears they could be prisoners
of conscience.

“We are very concerned about the ongoing
incommunicado detention of the detainees as this will increase their risk
of being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment," said Hassiba
Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and
North Africa program.

Muhammad Saeed, a board member of the banned
Bahrain Center for Human Rights,
was arrested at his home in Sehla, northern Bahrain, in the early hours
Tuesday by security forces.

Two others, Abdulhadi al-Mokhoder and Mirza
al-Mahrus, both clerics, were arrested at the same time at their homes
in Sanabis and Manama, respectively.

“The Bahraini authorities must make it clear
why these eight men have been arrested, and either release them or charge
them with recognizable criminal offenses. It is unacceptable for them to
be held merely because of their human rights activism, non-violent political
activities or criticism of the government,” said Hadj Sahraoui.

The latest arrests mark an increased clampdown
on opposition and civil society activists in the lead-up to the parliamentary
elections in October.

Jaafar Hisabi, a United Kingdom resident for
the past 15 years who has been involved in political protests against the
Bahraini authorities was arrested on Monday at Bahrain International Airport
on his return to the country.

Three others were arrested on Sunday , including
Abdulghani al-Khanjar, head of the Committee for the Defense of Martyrs
and Torture Victims and spokesperson of the Coalition for Truth and Reconciliation.
Mohammad Habib al-Miqdad, a cleric and head of the Al-Zahra’ charity,
was also arrested on Sunday at his home in Sehla, and Saeed al-Nouri, a
cleric and activist from the opposition movement al-Wafa,
handed himself in to the Prosecutors Office in Manama, after security officials
visited his home seeking his arrest.

Abdul Jalil al-Singaci, spokesperson for the
Human Rights Bureau of the opposition movement Haq was arrested at Bahrain
International Airport last Friday. His family told Amnesty International
that they have not had any contact with him for the last six days and are
concerned about this health.

Neither the families nor the legal representatives
of the detainees have been informed of any formal charges.

“All of these detainees should be allowed
to have immediate access to their lawyers, families and also to adequate
medical care,”
said Hadj Sahraoui.

Many of the men have now been held for more
than 48 hours without having been presented to the Public Prosecutor as
required under Bahraini law.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters,
activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more
than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.

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