Reporters Without Borders says the Bahraini regime has sentenced a freelance photographer to ten years in prison and stripped him of his citizenship over “terrorism” charges.
On Tuesday, the world’s leading press advocacy body, known by its French acronym RSF, said Sayed Ahmed al-Mousawi was accused by a court on Sunday of giving mobile phone SIM cards to protesters and taking photos of demonstrations against the ruling Al Khalifa regime.
The RSF said authorities arrested the photographer “without a warrant” on February 10, 2014, in the town of Diraz and confiscated his camera and other electronic devices.
The Paris-based media rights group denounced as “outrageous” the treatment of a journalist as a terrorist.
“The threats and intimidation campaigns against professional journalists and citizen journalists have just one aim – to use ‘terrorism’ as a pretext for suppressing all criticism of an authoritarian regime,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of the RSF Middle East.
The group said the arbitrary arrest of peaceful dissidents, systematic torture in the Persian Gulf country as well as impunity have turned it into a dangerous place for those who speak out.
Condemning Mousawi’s “arbitrary detention,” the RSF called on authorities to overturn the conviction.
The development comes after Human Rights Watch censured Al Khalifa for “mistreatment and torture” of detainees during interrogations.
The rights group said in a Sunday report that the techniques employed by the Bahraini regime violate its “obligations as a state party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture) and other international treaties, and contravene the prohibition of torture in Bahrain’s constitution and its penal code.”
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in the streets of the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful rallies.