Bahrain: NPWJ condemns arrest of Said Yousif Almuhafda and other human rights defenders and calls for their immediate release

18 Dec, 2012 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome – New York, 18 December 2012


Said Yousif Almuhafda, prominent human rights defender and acting Head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), together with 27 other peaceful protesters, were arrested yesterday during a demonstration in Manama. The purpose of the rally was to mark the anniversary of two protestors who were killed in 1994 and saw hundreds of protesters converge upon the city’s market district calling for the release of all jailed protesters and demanding that the King step down. Bahraini security forces responded by firing tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades into the crowd and the Ministry of the Interior confirmed it  had made a “number” of arrests.
Said Yousif has previously been arrested several times, the most recent of which was his arrest on 2 November for “participation in illegal protests”, following which he was arbitrarily detained until 14 November when all charges were dropped.  Colleagues at the BCHR have stated that he is currently charged with “disseminating false information” through Twitter for documenting security force abuses during the protests.

Statement by  Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) strongly condemn the arrest and ongoing detention of Said Yousif and the other protesters arrested during a peaceful demonstration held yesterday  in Manama, and call upon the Bahraini authorities to ensure their prompt and unconditional release.

“Said Yousif’s imprisonment for exercising his right to freedom of expression, association and assembly demonstrates the blatant inability of the regime to implement the recommendations issued by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November 2011 as well as by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in September 2012.

“Despite the pledges made by Bahrain’s highest authorities’, human rights abuses faced by Bahrain’s political opposition and constituents continue unabated, greatly hampering the possibility of any meaningful change for the country’s political future, in both the short- and long-term.

“We urge the international community to demand that Bahrain complies with its responsibilities and implements all necessary measures to ensure that its citizens can actively engage in democratic reform and contribute to anchoring of their country’s future on democracy, rule of law and respect of fundamental human rights.

“This includes first and foremost to respect and protect the fundamental rights of its citizens, to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience, including human rights defenders Said Yousif, Nabeel Rajab and Zainab AlKhawaja, and to establish credible accountability mechanisms for addressing continuing abuses”.

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915. Check also the special section on NPWJ Bahrain Project