Held since 12 June, Qambar began working as a photojournalist for such international media outlets as Russia Today Arabicand Ruptlyin 2011, when he covered that year’s uprising and pro-democracy protests.
He has been convicted on such charges as “burning tyres,” “causing damage to an electricity tower,” “rioting and causing chaos” and “association with a terror organization,” but RSF has learned that the interrogations to which he was submitted were all about his work as a photojournalist.
“The many fanciful charges and the disproportionate sentences imposed on Hassan Mohammed Qambar show that the Bahraini justice system tolerates no media coverage that contradicts the official version of events,” said Sophie Anmuth, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “We call for his immediate release and the quashing of these wrongful convictions because he just did his job as a photojournalist.”
Qambar was previously jailed from April 2011 to February 2012 on charges of vandalism and spreading false news. He resumed working as a photojournalist after his release with the result that Bahrain’s National Security Agency began searching for him four months later and raided his home for the first time.
The NSA ended up raiding his home more than 60 times during the ensuing six yearsuntil he was finally arrested six months ago.
According to RSF’s barometer, 15 journalists and citizen-journalists are currently detained in connection with the provision of news and information in Bahrain, which is ranked 166th out of 180 countriesin RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.