I'm not sure what this means exactly, but here is the report from Reuters:
MANAMA, July 20 (Reuters) - Bahrain imposed a news blackout on Tuesday in the case of six Islamists arrested last week for allegedly planning attacks in the pro-Western Gulf Arab state.
The Information Ministry said its decision was based on a ruling by the public prosecutor.
"The prosecutor's office has decided to ban any news, comments or information about the ongoing investigation," the ministry said in a statement that quoted the ruling and was faxed to media organisations. (Continued)
Does this mean that the local press is not allowed to report on the issue? Well we'll have to wait for tomorrow's papers to find out... or not.
This entry was posted
on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 at 7/21/2004 01:50:00 am. Permalink
Well real democracy occasionaly puts a gag order(ban)prior to trial on the procecutor's office, the defense and all witnessnes so potential juries won't be influenced by all the grandstanding. While leaks always seem to happen, it is essentially the same process as you are talking about and it is meant to protect the accused.
Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think there will be any civilian jury to decide this case. As far as I am aware, it will be decided by the judge (and others higher up pulling the strings). So I don't really see the need for banning this information.
Furthermore, a gag order, as you have said, is generally where the involved parties (i.e. the prosecutor, the defence, and witnesses) are restricted from speaking to the public and press about the case. However, it can not restrict the press from speaking about the case independently. (At least, this is the case in the US, as it would violate the First Amendment). Again, I'm not a legal expert so correct me if I'm wrong.
Now the Reuters report did not detail the extent of the ban, but the local English-language press has conspicuously had no mention whatsoever about the case in the past two day. There wasn't even a report about the ban itself, so I'm lead to believe that the press is also being restricted from talking about the case.
You are correct that a gag order would not deter the press from speaking about the case, but that's all they are doing-speculating because they are not privy to facts until hearings or the trial. They can sue for access to the information, but the trial would be likely over before they got the same information by attending hearings. It happens once and a while.
I am aware Bahrain does have a different justice system as well as a differnt style of media. I was trying not to be critical of them, but feel the same "suspicion" that you do about the situation and understand your reservations.
Unfortunately, it would seem there is not much to be done other than a protest or filing a complaint with human rights organizations. Doesn't make it right, but...
Human rights? What about the human rights of the people these Islamists were planning to murder - and will murder when they get out of prison. Several of them already have got off on technicalities after arms dumps were found in their mosques and houses.
Rightly, these fundamentalists have access to lawyers and human rights activists, and they're being well treated. While they're speaking with the guy from the BHRC these bin laden wannabes should ponder how they'd fare if they were caught doing this sort of thing in their model state -Taliban Afghanistan. See how far you're talk about human rights got you there, you evil, double talking murderous bastards.
Friend, please take a little time to read and find out what we are discussing before posting angry messages. We are not debating the human rights of the detainees (even though I think that is also an important issue). We are discussing the right for people like you and me to talk and read about the case in the press and in the media.
I think its absolutely outrageous that these people can talk self righteously about human rights once they've been caught planning atrocities. Their audacity is unbelievable.
All I've heard so far is the familiar throw away lies that come out of their advocate Mr Khaled. This guy is just as evil as the people he represents and Bahrain would be best off if he was given a one way ticket to Guantanamo Bay.
He claims there's satanism in Bahrain. When pressed he says he doesn't have any evidence but someone in his mosque told him. The result of his lies - somebody who went to a heavy metal party gets thrown out of their home and a broken family. He then claims that Lebanese girls are handing out copies of the Passion of Christ and proselysing outside the church - result feeding sectarian hatred.
Now he's telling more lies - feeding his gullible audience with hate. Turn down the volume on this deeply evil psychopath.
"...one way ticket to Guantanamo Bay." I never knew that people can be sent to Guantanamo Bay for voicing an opinion (even if it was a ridiculous and absurd one). I thought they were sent there if they were caught launching or planning a terrorist attack. Even so, most detainees in Guantanamo are kept with no trial or interrogation yet (surely if there is one, it would be over by now). Doesn't that violate ANY form of law? YOU ought to be shipped to Guantanamo Bay for posting such a thing simply because I don't agree with you. How does that sound? Silly I assume.
Mohammed Khaled's involved with the terror suspects more than just as mere spokesman - he's at least a facilitator of their plans and looking at his track record probably the mastermind behind the operation.
After a vocal campaign Khaled ensured that one of the terror suspects was brought back from detention in KSA where he was being held on links with Al Qaeda. Predictably to both me and no doubt Mohammed Khaled as soon as this Sheikh drives over the causeway he's immediately working on plans for a major terrorist attack in Bahrain.
Considering his godfather role in bringing this Ocean's 11 of terror together, shouldn't Mohammed Khaled be investigated too?
Wait a minute. I would never want to support a real, live terrorist; but maybe these guys are as guilty as sin, and maybe one or all of them are not. When the government keeps the processed closed, then people are justified to wonder if the evidence is fabricated if they are found guilty. They are also justified to wonder if the country is in danger if they are let go without any explaination other than the not enough evidence routine.
Maybe-MAYBE-there is some valid reason for the way this is proceeding, but if the government had any brains they would make sure it is an open process. It is not like Gitmo where the prisioners are supposedly enemy combatants; these are citizens and alot of people could find themselves in their shoes I would presume. That means the possibility of using the media and the public for their cause to sway public opinion, but that can work as a double edged sword too. There are pros and cons to everything, but a closed process just adds more fuel to the flames.
Yeah, I wish they would at least announce to the public that they are ordering a gag order, and explain to the public the reasons why why this is a necessary step. But instead we have no news whatsoever about what is going on. I don't think the public can then really be blamed for being suspicious. In the absence of any official word, I'm sure we'll hear more than the usual number of conspiracy theories about the case on the streets in the comong days.
With regards to the case itself, I don't want to ever be accused of siding with the terrorists. And you can call me naive, or idealistic, but I do have a firm belief in the principle of "innocent until proven guilty". The threat of terrorism is very real, but in these situations it becomes all the more important to hold fast to this principle. Quite frankly, the government has not provided enough real evidence for me to be convinced that they are guilty "without a reasonable doubt". Maybe the evidence exists, and maybe they very well are terrorists. But until the government makes public what that evidence is, I don't think its in anyone's interests to go around making accusations based on association.