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Governments Should Halt Trade in Surveillance Technology

(New York) – Recent reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used for surveillance of dozens of journalists, human rights activists, and others demonstrate the urgent need for governments to suspend the trade in surveillance technology until…
People march in Budapest, Hungary during a July 26, 2021 protest against the Hungarian government over reports that it has used Pegasus spyware.
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Quash Unjust Charges and Sentence

(Beirut) – The release from prison of the prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab on June 9, 2020 is a long-overdue but positive development, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities detained him in June 2016 and a court later…
202006mena_bahrain_rajabfamily
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Halt Executions

(Beirut) – Bahrain’s authorities should overturn the death sentences following unfair trials against two men who say they were tortured, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said today. The Court of…
Mohamed Ramadan (left) and Hussein Ali Moosa (right).
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Rights Defenders Imprisoned, Free Expression Prosecuted

(Beirut) – Participants in the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ workshop on June 25 and 26 in Manama, and journalists covering the event, should question Bahraini officials about the government’s jailing of human rights defenders and suppression…
Bahraini anti-government protesters hold up images of jailed human rights activist Nabeel Rajab during a solidarity protest on May 14, 2015.
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Free Speech and Association, Dissidents Under Attack

(Beirut) –Bahrain cracked down on peaceful dissent during 2018, virtually eliminating all opposition, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2019. No independent media were allowed to operate in the country in 2018, and…
Demonstrations after the death of a young Bahraini after being shot outside the home of the Shiite leader in Bahrain on March 25, 2017. © 2017 Sayed Baqer AlKamel/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Bahrainis Deported from Homeland; Others at Risk

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities should restore citizenship to hundreds of nationals whose citizenship they revoked through executive orders or court decisions since 2012, rendering most of them stateless, Human Rights Watch said today…
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Prosecution Should Drop Charges in ‘Tweets Case’

(Beirut) – The Bahraini government should drop its charges against a prominent Bahraini human rights defender for peacefully expressing his views and order his immediate release, Human Rights Watch said today. The Manama Appeals Court…
Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab arrives for his appeal hearing at court in Manama, February 11, 2015.
News

Exonerate, Free Nabeel Rajab

(Beirut) – The Bahrain High Criminal Court on February 21, 2018, sentenced the prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to five years in prison for criticizing torture in a Bahrain prison and Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, Human Rights…
Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab arrives for his appeal hearing at court in Manama, February 11, 2015.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

While Saudi Arabia Fights Yemen War Crimes Investigation

This week Saudi Arabia and its allies in Geneva are blustering and threatening other countries to try to defeat a UN Human Rights Council resolution that would set up an independent investigation into war crimes by all parties –…
MENA 2015 Bahrain Nabeel Rajab
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Leading Bahraini Rights Activist Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have sustained their campaigns to silence peaceful critics during the first half of 2017, Human Rights Watch said today, updating an interactive website, created in November 2016, featuring targeted human rights activists. On…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
News

Restrictions on Free Speech and Protest in Bahrain and the Foreign Policy Responsibilities of Western Governments

Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja, known to her 47, 900 Twitter followers as @angryarabiya, faced trial in a courtroom in Manama in October 2014. The charges related to an incident two years earlier when she had ripped up a photo of Bahrain…
MENA Bahrain protesters Pearl roundabout February 2011
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In recent years there has been a rapid expansion of the popularity and use of social networking internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube activity in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman,…
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Region-Wide Crackdown on Social Media Activism

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have attempted to silence peaceful critics in response to a wave of online activism in recent years, Human Rights Watch said in an interactive website that began operating today. The governments have responded to online…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
News
This week, a court in Angola found 17 activists guilty of preparing a rebellion against the government and sentenced them to between two and eight years in prison. The hefty terms shocked many Angolans, reminding them once again that rights to free speech…
Some of the 17 activists who have been sentenced to jail terms of between two and eight years, after prosecutors introduced a new charge of “criminal conspiracy," Angola, 2015.
News
We, the undersigned organisations, call upon the 41 Governments that compose the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, to take action and address the alarming proliferation of surveillance…
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The Stoic philosopher Epictetus warned of the dangers of casually bad-mouthing the ruler in ancient Rome: “A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received…
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Anticipated Protests Risk Further Violations

(Beirut) – International racing bodies responsible for scheduling the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix from April 19 to 21, 2013, have taken no steps to address human rights abuses that appear to be directly linked to the event. Bahraini security forces…
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The Arab uprisings have been a poignant reminder of how the Internet can promote free expression and assembly, but also how governments can try abuse it. The medium used by demonstrators to organize protests and bring medical supplies to Tahrir Square,…
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Lift Ban on Protests; Release “Twitter Offenders”

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities should immediately release the human rights activist Sayed Yusuf al-Muhafadha and drop all “illegal gathering” charges against him. On October 30, 2012, the government issued an indefinite ban on public protests. Security…