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11 HR Org. Including HRW Demand Bahrain to Drop Fabricated Charges against Sayed Ahmed Al-Wedaei's Relatives

2019-02-25 - 8:28 p

Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International along with other human rights organizations issued a statement demanding the Bahraini government to drop charges against family of human rights activist Sayed Ahmed Al-Wedaei.

The organizations recounted details of the targeting of Al-Wedaie's, which came in retaliation for his movement and activism abroad against the government and the royal family in Bahrain, specifically his activities during the king's participation in the royal Windsor Horse Show in the British capital.

The family members (Al-Wedaei's mother-in-law Hajar Mansour, brother-in-law Nizar and cousin Mahmoud Marzouq) were arrested in March 2017 and sentenced to three years in prison on dubious charges in October 2017. The judicial process was marred by due process violations and allegations of ill-treatment and coerced confessions, according to the statement.

An appeals court upheld their sentences on December 20, 2017.

The organizations urged the Bahraini authorities to release the 3 detainees immediately and unconditionally, to ensure their convictions and sentences are quashed and to drop all additional fabricated charges against Nizar Al-Wedaei.

Last month, the United Nations Working Group of Arbitrary Detention described the imprisonment of Hajar Mansour, Nizar Al-Wedaei and Mahmoud Mansour as "arbitrary" and in reprisal to Sayed Ahmed Al-Wedaei's activities, and called for their immediate release.

The 3 were prosecuted on dubious charges of planting fake explosive devices to create terror among the population. The prosecution failed to present any physical evidence linking the three to the alleged crime, relying instead on "confidential sources" and confessions which the defendants claim were extracted under duress.

Furthermore, the organizations expressed their concerns that the prison conditions in Isa Town Prison, where Hajar Mansour is held, are not in line with international standards. We are aware that she is not receiving adequate medical attention for a lump in her breast, which may be cancerous. We also understand that she has not been allowed to see her family since September 2018, due to the imposition of a physical barrier in the visitation room.

The treatment of Sayed Al-Wedaei's family is indicative of Bahrain's pattern of abuse, harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders, as highlighted by the UN Secretary-General in September 2018. We call on the authorities in Bahrain to end such actions and ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and that the right to freedom of expression is fully respected.

The statement was issued by 11 human rights groups: Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), Amnesty International, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), English PEN, European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR), Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Human Rights First (HRF), Human Rights Watch (HRW), PEN International and Women's March Global.

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