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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=More on the 'Free Ali' campaign. Sorry for the trouble.

More on the 'Free Ali' campaign

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Two new items for the 'Free Ali' campaign from the Bahrain blogging community:

  1. A "Free Ali" blog has been created that is devoted solely for this cause. It's still in the works but it will soon have links to all the blog posts and media reports about the situation. The idea is that it will be the first place that people can visit to find out about Ali, rather than having to link to several different blogs. Please check it out and tell others.

  2. DIB has drafted a letter that we encourage you to send to public officials around the world who have relations with the Bahraini government. It describes the situation of the detained BahrainOnline Trio, and also highlights the problems with the 2002 Press Law under which they are being charged. Please check out DIB's post and consider sending it to your representatives. (If you don't like attachments, then you can read the letter in your browser by clicking here.)

This letter below was drafted by Desert Island Boy. Please read DIB's post for further information.

To whom it may concern,

I would like to bring to your attention the matter of one Ali Abdulemam a citizen of the Kingdom of Bahrain. He is one of the moderators of an Internet forum Bahrainonline.org that is highly critical of the government.

When the Kingdom of Bahrain introduced constitutional reforms in 2002, it guaranteed the freedom of conscience and of expression. Bahrainis still believe that measure to have been taken in good faith and cherish the freedom to express their views whatever they may be.

On Sunday, February 27th, Ali Abdulemam was detained and held for question by Bahrain's Public Security forces. Along with two other moderators, Mohammed Al Mosawi and Hussein Yousif, they are being held at the Hoora Police Station for questioning with little to no access to family.

Please find the specific charges attached on the next page.
This case has brought the issue of free speech to the forefront. Many have not been aware of the extent that the 2002 Press Law goes in curtailing free speech.
Bahrainis believe that its citizens should be allowed to publish on paper or on the web any form of constructive criticism without fear of incarceration or authoritarian intimidation. This is especially true for a country that has been lauded by Western Governments for it's progressive reforms.
We ask that as a public official, you would express your displeasure to the Bahraini Government with Sections 70 through 72 of Bahrain's Press Law that could be used to eliminate any criticism of Bahrain's allies, legislature, judiciary, public officials or representatives of foreign nations. Sections 73 and 74 assign full responsibility on any editor or website moderator for any comments that could possibly violate the previously mentioned articles. The net effect is that it forces citizens to become the censors that the government no longer wishes to be seen as. And finally section 75, which specifically targets the use of electronic media to express ones conscience. These articles are draconian and do not belong in a society that claims progress in participatory politics.

We ask that you would advise the Government of Bahrain to not criminalize legitimate debate and dissent. The matters addressed could very well be handled in civil proceedings as they are in other free nations.

Specific to Abdulemam, Mosawi and Yousif, we ask that you advise the Bahraini Government to recognize the poor publicity the incident has elicited and that it reconsider the prosecution of these cases. We ask that you advise them that a fair and evenhanded judiciary could enhance its profile in international relations, should they opt to go to trial. We ask that they display their ability to handle criticism no matter how aggressive it may be, rather than what might be perceived as repression and intolerance.

We thank you for looking into the matter and for helping speed the advance of progress and democracy in the Middle East.

//Page 2:

*For lack of a technical translation, I have used secondary paraphrased sources*

Ali Abdulemam has been charged with the following crimes.
1. Section: 165 (Incitement of Hatred towards the Regime)
Charge: From the Law of Penalties
Punishment: 3 years in jail.

2. Section: 214 (Defaming the Royal Entity)
Charge: From the Law of Penalties
Punishment: 3 years in jail.
3. Charge: Spreading News with intent to Destabilize National Security

4. Section violated: 75 (Using a Telecomm Network to Offend Public Policy)
Charge: From the Telecommunication Law
Punishment: 6 months in jail.

5. Section violated: 68 (Criticism of the King and/or inciting the commission of felonies and/or the overthrow of the regime)
Charge: from Press Law (Law #47, issued 2000)
Punishment: 6 months in jail.
Mohamed Mosawi and Hussein Yousif are in detention undergoing interrogation at the moment. Reportedly they are being pressured to close down their site and wipe out its databases.
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4 Responses to 'More on the 'Free Ali' campaign'

Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl says:

Great work Chanad ;)

Saves lazy me the effort from yoyoing from one blog to another like a monkey all day long - not that I dont do that!!    

Anonymous Anonymous says:

What a waste of lives and time... You don't like a place? Move out! Look at the demographics of Bahrain and you'll realise that there isn't much you can do. Be realistic...

ODD A    

Anonymous sillybahrainigirl says:

Moving out is not the answer. I personally have thought about it a million and one times...and then I backed out.

Theyy can arrest all the bloggers and fence Bahrain and make it a jail for anyone who speaks his mind but we will continue to live here and remain faithful to Bahrain and everything that is truely Bahraini.

This is my country and the country of my forefathers and I would very much like for it to be the country of my children.

A bunch of mercenaries will not derail us from changing this place to the better - for us and for the future generations.

The old-timers time is up...and I am not saying this because I am angry that a few bloggers have been arrested. This is a separate issue and the fact remains that as a nation we have been muzzled and stopped from expressing ourselves throughout the pre-reform, reform and post-reform process.

To understand this, you need to understand the culture and traditions of this place... and the deep-rooted fear of repurcussions from a region which could deal with an iron fist against the first signs of dissent.

Come what may come.. Like palm trees, we will remain here with our roots deep deep in the land.
They can poison the land and cut the water supply...but we will survive.

Let the outsiders leave. Amen.    

Anonymous Anonymous says:
3/06/2005 05:48:00 am

I do appreciate your patriotism and the love you have for "your" country, but I do not understand it one bit.

If I don't feel comfortable in a place, I'll just move. Why should I spend the rest of my life fighting against mentally-ill greedy people over a piece of land, a couple of buildings, and a few alleyways that I kicked a soccer ball in?

In addition to that, why should I waste my time walking the streets with a bunch of angry people, get hit by a bunch of rough people, and thrown into jail by hypocrites?

I'd much rather not do all of the above. I prefer to come back from work, read a book, smoke my water-pipe, listen to Ray Charles, and then go to bed (and of course, try to convert as many people to my hedonist/comfort oriented way of life...)

Don't let what I said above make you think that I'm promoting people being passive (my cheeky side would say I am), I would just rather do it according to a well set-out plan. And right now, the so-called "leftists" of Bahrain do not have one (leftists anywhere don't have a plan)...

In fact, the way I view it as this: a couple of people decided that letting their hearts out on the web might brighten their day. It seems to me that people just want to attract attention, cause a bit of "hoo-haa" so that the authorities give them a bit of credit in the newspaper...

We have too many stories about martyrs and freedom fighters and I think people are getting obsessed with becoming one (just like people are obsessed with becoming the Idol in whichever country you are from) without planning ahead too much...

This is probably the longest public piece of writing I've done, but my views are mine, and I am asking for someone convince me that they need repairing...So please, do talk...    

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