Sunday, February 27, 2005
It finally happened- what every free-thinking individual dreads. Fellow Bahraini blogger and friend, Ali Abdulemam was summoned for interrogation today in the General Prosecutors office. As of time of writing, no one knows if he is arrested or will be released.
Ali Abdulemam, 27 years old, is the owner of one of the most popular site in
Arrest of BahrainOnline Moderator (Ali Abdulemam)
Bahraini authorities this morning, 27 February 2005, issued orders for the arrest of the general moderator of BahrainOnline discussion forum (www.bahrainonline.org), Ali Abdulemam, 27 years old. Security forces had gone to his home to arrest him but he was not there at the time. His sister, who works at a government school, was arbitrarily taken from there and later arrested.
On the back of this arrest warrant, Ali Abdulemam is among the first Arab citizens to be arrested for online internet activities. Noting that BahrainOnline has been blocked several times by
’s telecommunications company, following orders from government authorities without any legal basis whatsoever. This has been condemned by several human rights organisations as a breach of freedom of expression (see January 18th Statement below). Batelco, Bahrain
This arrest reinforces the underhanded authoritarianism that is stifling
, highlighted by many political and human rights societies and non-governmental organisations in the country. Countless articles, statements and studies have reproached the laws and decrees which have restricted citizen’s natural rights. The implementation of an austere penal code and press laws, legacies from the State Security laws, have served as tools for public clampdowns by the government. Bahrain
The management of BahrainOnline rejects this government action and considers it a dangerous threat to the right of expression that have been ratified in international laws and conventions. It calls upon the security authorities in the country to release Ali Abdulemam immediately and unconditionally. It also calls upon all those concerned in the human rights situation locally and internationally to heed the danger of this punitive action and to confront it directly in order to prevent further escalation.
The management of BahrainOnline electronic forum
Closure of Bahraini website again on the internet.
In one of the first tasks carried out by the new cabinet headed by the Prime Minister, and with the forthcoming Second Constitutional Conference not far away, Bahrain’s telecommunications company (Batelco) has blocked all access to the electronic discussion forum, “Bahrainonline” without any prior warning. It is reminded, that Batelco-the sole internet provider in Bahrain- following orders from the authorities, had blocked the official web address (www.bahrainonline.org) nearly 3 years ago, along with several other Bahraini websites. The new measures taken yesterday blocked all other known proxies to this site. This policy of blocking internet website is continuing today with no legal proceedings to legitimise such actions. This insistence on blocking all other proxies to these websites, is considered a clampdown on freedom of expression which stands against the freedoms allowed under the country’s constitution and international law.
Bahrainonline is one of the biggest Bahraini sites on the internet, and famed for the space it provides for free speech on all issues of national and cultural interest inside and outside of Bahrain. A number of political and legal bodies have issued past statements that ‘reject the repeated closure of the website, and ask for the authorities to allow visitors inside Bahrain to browse this site freely and to seek civilised means of legal proceedings rather than carrying out arbitrary security decisions and measures’.
Bahrainonline, 18th January 2005
I'll update you as soon as I hear anything. The following statement which I read on the forum really made me think:
مشكلتنا كعرب نتحرر عندما نعتقل ؟!!
أو لا نذوق الحريّة إلا في المعتقل ؟!!
"Our problems as arabs, is that we are liberated when we are incarcerated, and we taste freedom only in the prison cell"