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End Harassment, Prosecutions of Critics

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s new prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, should commit to respect the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, which have long been suppressed in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Malaysia’s king appointed Ismail…
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Surge in Police Harassment of Journalists, Activists, Protesters

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities are increasingly using criminal investigations to harass journalists, protest leaders, and various other critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Many are facing potential prosecution and have…
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With GE15 on the horizon, there is a grave risk that arrests will continue to rise. Respect for freedom of speech in Malaysia is in free fall - a decline illustrated by two recent arrests. On the evening of Friday, April 23, seven police…
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attending parliament session at parliament lower house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 13, 2020.
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Dear Stefano Domenicali, We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to you in your capacity as the new CEO of Formula 1 to reiterate our concerns about Bahrain’s use of the Bahrain Grand Prix to “sportswash” the country’s dire human rights…
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New Law Criminalizes Expression, Violates Privacy Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should revoke a new “fake news” ordinance that poses a serious threat to freedom of expression and privacy and the right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2)…
A television shows a live broadcast of Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at a shopping outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. 
News

Decision Holding Portals Liable Poses Serious Risk to Freedom of Speech

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian Federal Court decision holding an online news site responsible for reader comments contravenes international human rights standards and will chill free speech in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today. The court on…
Malaysiakini's editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to the media at the Federal Court in in Putrajaya, Malaysia on February 19, 2021. 
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EU-Bahrain Cooperation Agreement Must Depend on Human Rights Improvements

Please note: This letter was sent on 25 January and it was acknowledged by the European External Action Service (EEAS). The Bahraini foreign minister's visit to Brussels has been rescheduled to February 10, 2021. The EU-Bahrain interactive human…
Bahraini political opposition leaders, activists, bloggers, and human rights defenders imprisoned for their roles in the 2011 pro-democracy protests.
News

118 Groups Appeal to King to Commute Sentences

(Beirut) – The Danish government should renew and strengthen efforts to secure the immediate and unconditional release of a prominent human rights defender and dual Danish-Bahraini citizen, 118 international and Bahraini rights groups said today in a…
Bahraini anti-government protesters raise signs with images of jailed human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja Friday, April 6, 2012, in Jidhafs, Bahrain.
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Immunity, Police Powers for Military Raise Risk of Abuse

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s recently announced Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance is overly broad and should urgently be revised to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The ordinance, announced on January 14,…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
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Arrests for Peaceful Speech; Death Sentences After Unfair Trials

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities in 2020 escalated repression against online and social media activity and prosecuted critics for peaceful expression, and courts upheld death sentences against opposition activists after unfair trials, Human Rights…
Bahraini prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab wears a face mask after he was released, at his house in Budaiya in Manama, Bahrain June 9, 2020.
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Drop Case Against Abdullah al-Shamlawi

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities should not contest the appeal of Abdullah al-Shamlawi, a lawyer, to vacate his conviction and eight-month prison sentence for tweets, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said today. The…
Abdullah al-Shamlawi
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Arrest of Bangladeshi in Documentary Violates Free Speech Rights

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities’ arrest of a Bangladeshi migrant worker who was featured in an Al Jazeera documentary is clear retaliation for his criticism of government policies towards migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities…
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Abusive Investigations for Critical Speech on the Rise

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities are increasingly responding to criticism of the government by initiating criminal investigations, Human Rights Watch said today. Journalists, civil society activists, and ordinary people have all recently faced…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
News

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…
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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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Backtracking on Free Expression, Accountability, LGBT Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s promised human rights reforms stalled in 2019 as the government either backed away from or delayed action on its campaign commitments, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. “Malaysia’s reform…
Protesters hold placards reading " Save Malaysia, Arrest the Thief " during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
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Proposal Would Criminalize Criticism of Government

Nigerian campaigners are speaking out against a bill that would regulate engagement on social media with the campaign #SayNoToSocialMediaBill. The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019 was presented in the Senate…
Two men check their phones in Kaduna, Nigeria
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Keep Pledge to Repeal Abusive Laws

(New York) – The Malaysian government should reinstate its moratorium on using the Sedition Act pending the law’s repeal, Human Rights Watch said today. Previous Malaysian governments have used the broadly-worded law, which goes well beyond…
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad listens to questions during an interview with foreign media on one years anniversary of government in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Thursday, May 9, 2019.
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Broad Claims of National Security Threaten Rights

Nigerian authorities appear to be on a renewed drive to muzzle free speech. Earlier this month, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) suspended the broadcast licenses of two subsidiaries of Daar Communications, the…
Two men check their phones in Kaduna, Nigeria