Reporters Without Borders has just learned that netizen Mohamed Al-Rashid was released on bail of 530 dollars on 4 January following his arrest in October on a charge of spreading false information with the aim of undermining public security. His movements are restricted pending the outcome of his trial.
According to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Rashid wrote for websites such as Online and Al Jazeera Talk, criticizing human rights violations and the unprofessionalism of pro-government journalists. He also quoted opposition statements, which are rarely reported in the traditional media.
Rashid’s arrest and prosecution increases Reporters Without Borders’ concern about the situation of freedom of expression in Bahrain. The press freedom organisation urges the authorities to drop the charges against him, to free Ali Abduleman and Abduljalil Al-Singace, two imprisoned bloggers who are currently on trial, and to stop using national security grounds to silence government critics.
Abduleman and Al-Singace are charged with defaming the authorities and spreading false information about Bahrain’s internal affairs with the aim of destabilizing the country. In the course of the seven hearings that have so far taken place, they said they have been tortured since their arrest while their lawyers resigned in protest at the court’s refusal to investigate the torture allegations, as required by the law (read the article).
Bahrain is ranked 144th out of 178 countries in the 2010 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is on the list of “Countries under surveillance” in the Reporters Without Borders report on “Enemies of the Internet".