DROI Chair condemns punishment of family members of Bahraini human rights defender
Regarding the upcoming final appeals court ruling on 25 February 2019, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights Mr Antonio Panzeri made the following statement:
“Three family members of the exiled Bahraini human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei are currently serving a sentence of three years imprisonment: his mother-in-law Hajer Mansoor Hassan, his brother-in-law Sayed Nazar Alwadaei and his cousin, Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor.
All three are seemingly being detained in reprisal to Mr. Alwadaei’s criticism of Bahrain’s ruling family and Bahraini government policies.
Targeting family members to silence activists amounts to collective punishment. “No family member should be detained for the crimes that may or may not have been committed by another family member”, stressed Mr Panzeri.
Releasing Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei’s family members on 25 February during the final appeals court ruling is the only way to ensure fair justice.
Bahraini authorities must immediately take all appropriate measures to ensure a full and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arbitrary deprivation of liberty and to hold those to account for the violation of their rights.”
The Bahraini human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), has been living in exile in Britain since 2012. His family members Sayed Nazar Naama Baqqer Ali Yusuf Alwadaei, Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor and Hajar Mansoor Hassan were reportedly arrested in March 2017 for allegedly planting fake explosive devices in January 2017. All three claimed they were subjected to ill treatment during interrogations. On 30 October 2017, they were sentenced to three years imprisonment. On 20 December 2017, the sentences of all three were upheld by a Bahraini court of appeal. If their sentence is upheld by the Bahraini final appeals court on 25 February 2019, they will have exhausted all available legal remedies.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) confirmed on 10 January 2019 that they were arrested without an arrest warrant and that their deprivation of liberty is arbitrary. The WGAD also stressed the fact that their arrest lacked a legal basis and the violations of the right to a fair trial and due process were of such gravity as to give the deprivation of their liberty an arbitrary character.
Office of MEP Antonio PANZERI
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