Bahrain: Citizen Sentenced to Three Years in Prison The Judge Rules on Charges of Leaking Information and The Public Prosecution does Not Investigate the Violations of Human Rights by The National Security Apparatuses 17 September 2009 The undersigned organizations express their concern regarding the High Criminal Court's ruling, headed by Judge Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-Khalifa, on 16 September 2009 that charges the Bahraini citizen Hasan Salman with leaking private information on the National Security Apparatuses. The Judge sentenced him to three years in prison, and stated in the reasons of the sentence that, "the Court was satisfied with the validity of the confession of the suspect in front of the Public Prosecution, where he made the confession voluntarily without coercion, and that the suspect published the names in vengeance for the ones that had their names published for their role in arresting Ali Hasan Mushaima and Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad. The court also found that all elements of the sentence he was charged with were available and this does not change the claim that this information is not confidential as was proven in the documents and from his confession that the information is confidential and he published them in electronic websites in aim of revenging from its respective owners for the role of the National Security Apparatuses in arresting the aforementioned two".
The undersigned organizations are sorry that the Bahraini Public Prosecution investigated with the citizen – which was not proven that he leaked information – with charges of leaking information related to the National Security Apparatuses, and at the same time refuses to investigate the accusations against members of the National Security Apparatuses for abuse of power and systematic torture, especially in the period between December 2007 and December 2008. The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights had already filed a complaint to the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on the Use of Mercenaries in the United Nations, especially in light of using foreign personnel in the National Security Apparatuses. Disclosing information relating to redressing victims of human rights violations is not categorized under confidential private information, but is rather related to freedom of opinion, expression, transparency and freedom of circulating information.
In the years 2007 – 2008, the National Security Apparatuses used different methods of torture in order to extract forced confessions from activists and human rights defenders. Members of this Apparatuses still practice their shady role in gathering information on activists and human rights defenders in aim of exploiting it in besieging them and preventing them from performing their role.
We stress that we will correspond with the Special Rapporteurs in the United Nations in order to acquaint them with the information relating to the case, and especially the information associated with the involvement of the Security Apparatuses in the serious violations of human rights punishable by courts and international conventions.
The undersigned organizations demand:
The immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Hasan Salman.
To stop targeting the human rights defenders in Bahrain and to allow them to practice their activities and role in disclosing human rights violations.
The immediate and urgent investigation in the accusations against the Security Apparatuses in Bahrain regarding the human rights violations.
Background to the case:
Hasan Salman (26 years old) was arrested while he was entering his work place on Thursday 14 May 2009, where he was taken to the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Adliya, and then to the apartment he lives in where his personal computer was confiscated and some CDs and photos of him and his family. Mr. Salman was accused with charges related to leaking and publishing information without the consent of the owner of this information. He was presented on the same day to the Public Prosecution who ordered that he be held in custody for investigation for a week, and then renewed his custody for twenty more days. Mr. Hasan Salman lives in the area of Naim in the outskirts of the capital Manama. He is married has a good reputation for his charity and social activity.
During the questioning of Mr. Hasan Salman, the investigators offered him a bargain in return for his release, on the condition that he signs a statement in which he accuses both Nabeel Rajab – President of the BCHR – and women activist Layla Dishti – administrator of www.bahrainonline.org that they incited and funded him to publish those names, however Hasan Salman refused to do so despite the intense pressures that he was put through.
1. The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
2. The Arab-Euro Center for Human Rights and International Law – Norway
3. The Yemeni Center for Human Rights
4. Protection Center for the Support of Human Rights Defenders – Egypt
5. Commission on Human Rights and Civil Society – Iraq
6. Human Rights and Democracy Media Center – Palestine
7. The Social Democratic Forum – Yemen
8. The Savior Organization for Human Rights – Iraq