URGENT ACTION

Further information on UA: 114/13 Index: MDE 11/017/2013 Bahrain Date: 30 May 2013

URGENT ACTION

Activist NAJI FATEEL JAILED FOR SIX MONTHS

Bahraini human rights activist Naji Fateel was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on 22 May for “illegal gathering” in February 2012. He is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for his human rights activities.

Naji Fateel, 39, was sentenced on 22 May 2013 to six months’ imprisonment by the Manama Criminal Court for “illegal gathering”. He was arrested on 14 February 2012, the first anniversary of mass protests in Bahrain, after he was caught in teargas fired by police to break up crowds of people peacefully marching towards the al-Farouq Junction in Manama (formerly the Pearl Roundabout). He was released on bail on 17 April 2012. Naji Fateel will begin this sentence in Jaw Prison (around 30km south of Manama) after his 60-day detention, ordered on 9 May the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) to allow time for an investigation to substantiate a charge of “establishing an organization for the purpose of calling for obstructing the enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution”. Naji Fateel has been held in Dry Dock Prison since 5 May.

A member of the PPO's Special Investigation Unit (SIU) visited Naji Fateel on 14 May, with his lawyer present, after he lodged a complaint that he had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated when he was arrested. Naji Fateel had been examined during his arrest by a forensic doctor, who concluded that there were no traces of torture. The SIU ordered that Naji Fateel should be re-examined by a forensic doctor: this has yet to take place.

Naji Fateel is understood not to have been allowed any family visits since his arrest on 2 May.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

Expressing concern that Naji Fateel is a prisoner of conscience held solely for his peaceful work as a human rights defender, and urging the Bahraini authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally;

Urging them to protect Naji Fateel from torture and other ill-treatment;

Urging the authorities to uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in line with Bahrain’s international human rights obligations.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 11 JULY 2012 TO:

King

Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa

Office of His Majesty the King

P.O. Box 555

Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 1766 4587 (keep trying)

Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister of Interior

Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa

Ministry of Interior

P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 1723 2661

Twitter: @moi_Bahrain

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa�Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs �P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain �Fax: +973 1753 1284

Email: minister@justice.gov.bh

Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali�

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 114/13. Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/014/2013/en

URGENT ACTION

activist NAJI FATEEL JAILED FOR SIX MONTHS

ADditional Information

Naji Fateel is a board member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) a blogger and prolific Twitter user, reporting on human rights violations. During marches and protests in villages he has given speeches about human rights and encouraged people to document and monitor violations.

Naji Fateel has been arrested and tortured and otherwise ill-treated several times. He sustained back injuries during torture in 2007 and walks with the help of a stick. Most recently he was arrested at dawn on 2 May without a warrant at his home in the village of Bani Jamra, in the north-west of the country. According to BYSHR, Naji Fateel was tortured and otherwise ill-treated during interrogation. He was taken to the PPO on 3 May, and refused to be interrogated without his lawyer. He was later returned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) where he was further tortured. At dawn the next day he was made to sign documents at the PPO which he had not been allowed to read.

Since 2011 Naji Fateel has been harassed and intimidated and has received death threats (please see: Bahraini activists receive threats after anonymous death call, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/bahraini-activists-receive-threats-after-anonymous-death-call-2011-03-11 and Urgent Actions: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/016/2012/en, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/011/2012/en).

Among the recommendations accepted by Bahrain in the Universal Periodic Review of 2012 are those calling on the government to abandon restrictions on human rights defenders. Since then, however, human rights defenders and other activists in Bahrain have continued to be harassed, arrested and even imprisoned for their human rights activities.

Two years after the uprising in Bahrain, and beneath the fanfare of reform, prisoners of conscience, including some arrested during the protests, remain behind bars and the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly continue to be suppressed. In recent months, not only have prisoners of conscience not been released, but more people have been jailed simply for daring to express their views, whether via Twitter or on peaceful marches. Bahraini courts have appeared more concerned with toeing the government’s line than offering effective remedy to Bahrainis and upholding the rule of law.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), appointed by Royal Order on 29 June 2011, was charged with investigating and reporting on human rights violations committed in connection with the 2011 protests. At the launch of the BICI report in November 2011, the government publicly committed itself to implementing the recommendations set out in the report. The report recounted the government’s response to the mass protests and documented wide-ranging human rights abuses. Among its key recommendations, the report called on the government to bring to account those responsible for human rights violations, including torture and excessive use of force, and carry out independent investigations into allegations of torture.

However, many of the government’s pledges remain unfulfilled. The establishment of BICI and its report was considered to be a groundbreaking initiative, but, almost two years on, the promise of meaningful reform has been betrayed by the government’s unwillingness to implement key recommendations around accountability; this includes its failure to carry out independent, effective and transparent investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force, and to prosecute all those who gave the orders to commit human rights abuses. For further information see the report Reform shelved, repression unleashed, http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/062/2012/en.

Name: Naji Fateel

Gender m/f: m

Further information on UA: 114/13 Index: MDE 11/017/2013 Issue Date: 30 May 2013

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