Reporters Without Borders Condemn Life Sentence, Long Prison Term, Revocation of Nationality of Bahraini Blogger & Journalist
2017-11-09 - 12:42 p
Bahrain Mirror: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounced on Wednesday (November 8, 2017) the harsh prison sentences issued by Bahraini courts against a blogger and a journalist.
RSF said it is appalled by a Bahraini court's arbitrary conviction of a blogger and a journalist on terrorism charges last week "although no hard evidence was brought against them." One was sentenced to life imprisonment, the other to 15 years in prison.
RSF stressed that it is "becoming more and more concerned about the situation of the media in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where the restrictions on access to information keep on growing and imprisoned journalists are mistreated."
"Media freedom has been stamped out in Bahrain," said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk. "The persecution of the regime's critics is being stepped up and the spaces for free speech keep on being reduced. We are sounding the alarm and we call on the authorities to stop the arrests and arbitrary convictions of journalists and bloggers, including those carried out on the pretext of combating terrorism".
Blogger Ali Al Mearaj and newspaper journalist Mahmood Al Jazeeri were convicted by a criminal court on 30 October of "support for terrorist activities" and were sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 years in prison respectively.
The rights group further noted that according to the Bahraini journalists' lawyers, the prosecution produced no hard evidence to support their conviction. RSF also said that it has learned that their lawyers, who plan to appeal, have yet to receive a written - a therefore definitive - version of the court's verdict.
Reporters Without Borders also condemned stripping both Mearaj and Jazeeri of the Bahraini nationality, highlighting that "this form of punishment is becoming more and more frequent, according to Bahraini organizations based abroad. Its victims include the award-winning freelance photographer Sayed Ahmed Al Mousawi."
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