Reporters Without Borders is shocked that a Manama appeal court yesterday upheld the ten-year jail sentence that the internationally renowned young photo-journalist Ahmed Humaidan received on 26 March in connection with an attack on a police station in 2012.
“The Bahraini authorities continue to abuse the most elementary human rights and are becoming more and more repressive in their treatment of news and information providers ,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “Despite a major international campaign for Ahmed Humaidan’s release, the Bahraini regime has chosen to turn a deaf ear and to continue silencing the witnesses of its brutal crackdown.” Humaidan was part of a group of 32 people who were charged with attacking a police station in Sitra on 8 April 2012 with Molotov cocktails, starting a fire that injured a police officer. The appeal court yesterday upheld the sentences of 29 of the defendants, including Humaidan, a judicial source said. Humaidan, who is on the Reporters Without Borders list of “100 information heroes” was given the National Press Club’s Press Freedom Award “in absentia” in Washington on 30 July. Several human rights NGOs, including Reporters Without Borders, used the occasion to reiterate their calls for the release of Humaidan, who has won a total of 143 international awards. Humaidan is one of the 12 Bahraini news and information providers currently detained in Bahrain for whom Reporters Without Borders launched a campaign for their release on 21 August. The youngest is only 15. Ever since the start off a wave of protests in 2011, photographers and cameraman have been high on the list of government targets in Bahrain, which is ranked 163rd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.